PayPoint Signs BP

Streamlining and upgrading its payment processing, BP has chosen Los Angeles-based PayPoint Electronic Payment Systems as payment processor for BP’s U.S. network of 15,000 BP, Amoco, and ARCO service stations. The move will give BP a more efficient payment processing operation while exposing it to PayPoint’s payment processing expertise, especially in the increasingly popular PIN-based debit card arena. PayPoint, which processes payments in the gasoline, grocery, and specialty retail industries, will see its processing volume increase 50 percent.

Created in 1984 to help ARCO launch PIN-based card payments at the island, PayPoint added non-petroleum clients in the 1990s while continuing to process payments for parent ARCO. After BP acquired ARCO in 2000, BP had separate payment processing entities for its BP, Amoco, and ARCO retail sites. BP and Amoco payment processing have been done internally in Tulsa through an outsourced data processor.

“We needed to consolidate our BP, Amoco, and ARCO payment processing networks into one more effective network while maintaining a high level of service,” says BP manager of retail site infrastructure Bill Tait. “We were looking for one quality environment run by a professional payment processing specialist. When we analyzed it, PayPoint was the obvious choice.”

PayPoint, Tait says, has the expertise to quickly and economically merge the three payment processing systems into one without changing anything at BP’s retail sites. “By simplifying our payment processing we are improving our capabilities without increasing our costs,” says Tait. “We think payment processing will evolve in the coming decade, with more payment offerings, different security issues, and new bank settlement requirements,” he added.

PayPoint president Mark Blincoe says winning BP’s business is another big step in PayPoint’s continuous growth. “We’re also excited about introducing pay-at-the-pump PIN-based debit to a large merchant in new geographic areas. Adding BP’s business boosts us from 1 billion to 1.5 billion transactions per year,” says Blincoe.

To consolidate BP, Amoco, and ARCO into one PayPoint payment system, PayPoint has launched a 12 month “card authorization project.” PayPoint will add links to eight new varieties of BP/Amoco point-of-sale (POS) terminal platforms, while also adding links with new proprietary card and fleet card providers. The move to PayPoint will not impact dealers and jobbers.

BP p.l.c. (NYSE: BP) has 15,000 retail sites in 37 states, ranking second in U.S. gasoline market share. Its BP and Amoco stations in the East, Midwest and South offer a variety of credit and fleet card payment options. In early 2001, BP launched its global “BP Connect” rebrand/store-of-the future program. The new retail sites feature a new global BP design, solar panel canopies, and web-enabled pumps for accessing travel information and news. Inside, there are internet-enabled kiosks for accessing travel information. BP also operates nearly 1,800 ARCO retail outlets and ampm convenience stores in six states in the Western United States.

PayPoint, one of the largest processors of PIN-based debit, is a leading national electronic payment processor. PayPoint has added supermarket/grocer, quick service restaurant, convenience store and specialty retailer clients while introducing several payment products like credit, gift card, check, electronic benefits transfer (EBT), proprietary card, fleet card, and e-commerce processing.

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SMART KEYBOARDS

Samsung Electro-Mechanics, a global leader in communications and information
technologies, and Wave Systems Corp., a developer of hardware solutions and
services for secure computing and trusted digital relationships, are
demonstrating a next-generation secure PC keyboard at the CeBIT 2002 trade
show
March 13-20 in Hannover, Germany.

Demonstrations using a Samsung keyboard and integrated Wave technologies will
be held at the Samsung Electro-Mechanics Booth 44, Hall 21, during the show.
Wave Systems is the developer of the EMBASSY(R) Trust System, for secure
e-commerce and trusted digital exchange, and the EMBASSY(R) 2100 secure
e-commerce chip. EMBASSY chips may be embedded in such products as computer
keyboards, smart card readers, and other computer components. When the EMBASSY
system secures a device such as a personal computer, personal information such
as credit card numbers, PIN numbers, and other end user secrets are protected
from theft.

At CeBIT, Wave will demonstrate the integration of EMBASSY technology into a
Samsung keyboard, which is suitable for use in any personal computer system,
either as original equipment or as a replacement for an older system. EMBASSY
technology is embedded into a smart card reader integrated into a Samsung
keyboard. This EMBASSY-enabled keyboard can provide a PC user with
general-purpose security that supports all authentication and content
protection systems.

“Around the world consumers are beginning to demand a more secure Internet
experience,” said Moonho Yeom, General Sales & Marketing Manager of Samsung
Electro-Mechanics. “A secure keyboard can be manufactured to be cost
competitive with today’s keyboards, while delivering more protection of
personal and financial information.”

“Wave is aggressively moving to be a leader in supporting European secure
E-commerce specifications and standards,” said Bruno Leconte, Wave vice
president, European Operations. “Wave’s EMBASSY enabled keyboard, as
manufactured by Samsung Electro-Mechanics, is superior to competitive offers
today, which tend to not be compliant with FINREAD specifications, or to be
closed systems and not interoperable. We believe a solution as manufactured by
Samsung Electro-Mechanics offers the programmability, open architecture and
security features demanded by the PC OEMs.”

About Samsung Electro-Mechanics:

Since 1973, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, one of the affiliate companies of
Samsung, has been developing and delivering the parts and components the
electronics industry depends on. And, along the way, we’ve secured the
technological and competitive edge to emerge as a world-class generic
electronic component maker at the dawn of the digital millennium. Starting out
as a producer of audio and video components, we diversified into the materials
and computer components fields in 1980s, focusing on computer peripherals,
multi-layer circuit boards, chip components, optical devices, and mobile
communications components, and other cutting-edge products throughout the
1990s. We leveraged our substantial expertise in high frequency, software,
engineering, and manufacturing technologies to begin a major advance into the
Internet product and digital components fields late in the decade. As a
result,
we’ll wrap up 2000 with sales of over US$3.8 billion as we continue to
solidify
our position as one of the world’s leading general electronic component
makers.
For more information, visit www.sem.samsung.com.

About Wave Systems Corp:

Wave Systems’ goal is to build a worldwide network of users based on trusted
electronic relationships. Trust @ the Edge defines a new architectural model
for the Internet, which embeds trust and security in every user device. Wave
Systems is developing, deploying and licensing its EMBASSY Trusted Client
technology for the mass adoption of this revolutionary model. Wave is
integrating industry standard functions from a wide range of partners that
enable reliable, secure digital exchange and commerce. Wave Systems and third
parties are building the services that will take advantage of this open model.
For more information about Wave Systems and Trust @ the Edge, visit
http://www.wave.com.

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Concord – BofA

Bank of America has signed a long-term participation contract with the STAR network to accept BofA debit cards at its more than 198,000 ATMs across the country. Concord EFS, the network’s owner, says the agreement also calls for Bank of America to place its ATMs in 17 states into the STAR network. The contract, announced this morning, is an extension of a previous relationship between Bank of America and Concord. The bank currently uses Concord’s ATM processing services for approximately 1,100 ATMs deployed in retail locations. The new contract extends the agreement for the use of Concord’s processing services. Bank of America advised Concord in August that although it will continue to use Concord’s processing services, it does not plan to continue its participation in the “STAR” network. BofA was the only sizeable owner of Star Systems that did not sign a long-term network participation contract with Concord when STAR was acquired by Concord in February. BofA expects to begin placing the STAR mark on its cards and ATMs later this month. STAR processed approximately 5.5 billion transactions in 2001 via 6,230 participating financial institutions. (CF Library 8/30/01)

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ERG 2001

Perth-based ERG Ltd reported a net loss of $US103.5 million for the second
half of 2001 compared to a net profit of $8.4 million for the year ago period.
The loss was attributable to an US$80.7 million write-down in the asset values
of license deals with smaller companies. The smart card company reported
revenues in the six month period totalled $US70.8 million, compared to $US95.6
million for the corresponding period in 2000. ERG’s balance sheet shows total
assets of $US354.0 million at year-end 2001, compared with $US382.1 million at
year-end 2000.

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Cards Pulled

The FDIC has begun notifying Net 1st MasterCard cardholders that their accounts are being closed. As a result, CO-based Equitex and its FL-based subsidiary, Key Financial Systems, said this morning they will not be able to transfer the portfolio, which holds about $5 million in secured card deposits, to a successor financial institution. However, the companies say that they are in active discussions with a number of current credit card issuers for a potentially new “Pay-As-You-Go” credit card program to be marketed and serviced by Key.

FL-based Net First National Bank was closed March 1st by the OCC with the FDIC named as receiver. The bulk of the assets were taken over by Bank Leumi USA. Net First and Key, issued the “Net 1st MasterCard,” under which consumers receive a credit card with a $500 balance. Cardholders make a $15 monthly payment, of which $8 is applied to the monthly fee and $7 is deposited with the bank as a useable or refundable credit. Atlanta-based Impulse Marketing says more than 500,000 consumers signed up for the sub-prime MasterCard. The OCC said Net First National Bank failed to comply with 19 of the 20 articles in a enforcement action taken 18 months ago. The enforcement action required the bank to stop marketing its “Pay-As-You-Go” or “Net 1st MasterCard” credit card product until it proved the program was in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, including consumer protection laws. However the OCC said last week that Net First complied only with Article 8 of the consent order which prohibited new written or oral contracts or commitments with third parties to perform services or provide products that directly or indirectly obligated the bank to pay on an annualized basis an amount equal to or exceeding $10,000. (CF Library 3/4/02; 3/5/02)

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MBNA Selling

Three top MBNA executives have filed with the SEC, announcing their intention to sell about $28 million worth of company stock. President Charles Cawley is selling $15.7 million in stock, EVP Richard Struthers is selling $10.7 million, and director Stuart Markowitz plans to unload $1.8 million in stock. Cawley is exercising stock options granted under MBNA’s 1997 long-term incentive plan. Struthers is exercising options granted under MBNA’s 1991 plan. Markowitz is selling shares he acquired on the open market between 1993 and 1998. According to SEC documents Charles Cawley sold 353,928 in February at 35.00 per share. MBNA is currently trading near its 52-week high of $39 per share.

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e-Port Hollywood

USA Technologies and Virtual Concepts have teamed to launch an intelligent credit-card based vending machine that dispenses everything from DVDs, CDs, and video games. The CineMachine utilizes e-Port, designed by USA Technologies. The e-Port cashless system allows consumers to make purchases from vending machines or any type of point-of-sale terminal with the swipe of a credit card, smart card or hotel room key, cellular phone, PDA, or through dial-a-vend. e-Port also comes equipped with a liquid display screen that allows suppliers and the vending machine or owner of the POS to advertise additional product, as well as allow the customer to make add on purchases. Both companies plan to target movie theaters and the theater patrons with CineMachine.

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CREDIT CARD FALLOUT

The South Korean Financial Supervisory Commission announced its plans to
promote debit card use over credit card use following “irregularities” with
credit card activity. The FSC says credit cards have produced more theft and
bankruptcy. The FSC is seeking to set the tax exemption rate and user limits
higher for debit cards than credit cards. Debit card users have been entitled
to a 20% tax exemption and a cash withdrawal limit of 500,000 won per use
and 1
million won per day. Debit card volume was 106.4 billion won in 2000 compared
to credit card volume of 79.5 trillion won in 2000. The FSC blames the credit
card problems on poor risk magnagement.

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Verizon SmarTouch

Verizon Long Distance customers in Washington now can buy their long-distance service in advance, giving them complete control over what they spend.

SmartTouch, an innovative service option from Verizon Long Distance, enables consumers to know exactly how much they are spending on long-distance calls. Customers establish a SmartTouch home telephone account using a credit card or a Visa- or MasterCard-branded check or debit card. Calling time is deposited in the customer’s account, using spending levels selected by the customer.

“SmartTouch puts customers in charge when it comes to managing their long-distance spending,” says Jill Wagner, vice president – marketing for Verizon Retail Markets. “Plus, we are giving customers a great rate with no hidden fees. It doesn’t get any simpler.”

Customers know exactly what they are paying for each long-distance call. SmartTouch customers pay a low flat rate of 8 cents per minute for state-to-state, direct-dialed calls made from home. There are no monthly plan fees. Long-distance calls within the state of Washington are 9 cents per minute. Domestic directory assistance calls for out-of-state numbers are 50 cents. These rates include all government-required taxes and surcharges, including state sales tax and federal universal service fees.

There are no extra digits to dial, such as for 10-10 dial-around services or prepaid calling cards.

How SmartTouch Works

Once the customer’s account is established, a voice prompt at the beginning of each long-distance call informs the customer exactly how much money is in the customer’s SmartTouch account and the number of minutes available for the call. Another voice prompt at the end of the call informs the customer of the remaining balance. If the account balance is getting low during a call, a voice prompt will alert the customer. Only the customer hears the account status information on the call.

From their home phones, customers can dial “0-0” or a special toll-free number to get the account balance, add additional time and check call activity anytime, day or night. Customers also can check their account balance, verify call activity and manage their account with Internet access on the Internet at [http://www.mysmarttouch.com][1]. All purchases are posted to the customer’s account immediately, so balances can be checked before making the next call. Verizon customers can also access their SmartTouch accounts away from home and at pay phones by dialing a separate toll-free number and using their unique PIN (personal identification number).

State-to-state, direct-dialed calls made while customers are away from home are 25 cents per minute. Unlike other major long-distance companies, Verizon Long Distance does not add a per-call service charge to its away-from-home feature and there are no special fees to access the account from a pay phone.

SmartTouch Makes Account Management Easy

At the customer’s option, Verizon Long Distance also can automatically add time to the customer’s account using their check card or credit card account by using the SmartTouch Rapid Recharge program.

Customers have two Rapid Recharge options. Verizon can replenish the SmartTouch account every time the account reaches a level set by the customer. Customers select the threshold and the amount they want Verizon to add to the account in advance. When the account reaches the threshold, the pre-determined amount is added to the account. Customers also can have a fixed amount added to the account each month on a day they select. Unused minutes carry over from month to month, so any money placed in the account stays there until the customer uses it.

SmartTouch Has International Appeal

SmartTouch offers Verizon long-distance customers some of the lowest international rates on direct-dialed calls with no monthly fees. For direct-dialed calls to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, the rate is the same as that for domestic calls: 8 cents per minute, 24 hours a day with no monthly fees. Like the domestic rates, SmartTouch international rates include all government-required fees and taxes.

Using SmartTouch is simpler than prepaid calling cards or 10-10 dial around services. SmartTouch customers can simply pick up the telephone and dial “011,” the country code, plus the number to make calls from home. In addition to English, SmartTouch voice prompts are available in Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.

If customers make calls when they are away from home and in a state where Verizon Long Distance cannot yet offer service, calls will be carried USAN, Inc., a long-distance company, and customers will pay USAN rates. Also, USAN charges a $1 surcharge for “away-from-home” calls made to locations outside the continental U.S. In addition to Washington, SmartTouch from Verizon is also available to residents in 27 states.

To get more information about SmartTouch visit Verizon Long Distance’s award-winning Web site at [http://www.getsmarttouch.com][2].

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, Verizon’s global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit [http://www.verizon.com][3].

[1]: http://www.mysmarttouch.com/
[2]: http://www.getsmarttouch.com/
[3]: http://www.verizon.com/

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NextCard Nasdaq

Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc. of Boston, Massachusetts, will become a component of the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index effective at the beginning of trading Thursday, March 14, 2002. Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc. will replace NextCard, Inc., which is being removed from the Index due to its extended trading halt.

With a market capitalization of $567 million, Boston Private Financial Holdings offers a full range of financial planning, investment management, and private banking services to its domestic and international clientele through its six operating companies: Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Borel Private Bank and Trust Company, Westfield Capital Management, RINET Company, Sand Hill Advisors, and Boston Private Value Investors.

The Nasdaq Stock Market lists more than 4,000 companies and trades more shares per day than any other U.S. market. For more information about Nasdaq, visit the Nasdaq Web site at [http://www.nasdaq.com][1] or the Nasdaq Newsroom(SM) at .

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

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ORCC Signs Major CU

Online Resources Corp., a leading outsourcer of e-financial services, announced the launch of its Quotien Internet Bill Payment Service to Citizen’s Equity First Credit Union, the thirteenth largest credit union in the country with $2.2 billion in assets and over 200,000 members.

“We are eager to see the results of the recent launch of this service to CEFCU’s membership,” said Paul Fager, vice president of EFT at CEFCU. “CEFCU has not offered an electronic bill payment program in the past. However, we expect the program will be very well received and members will quickly adopt it.”

About CEFCU

With assets totaling over $2.2 billion, CEFCU is the thirteenth largest credit union in the United States and the largest financial institution in Central Illinois. CEFCU serves over 216,000 member/owners through 19 Member Centers and the Money Center 24 ATM Network.

About Online Resources

Online Resources (Nasdaq:ORCC – [www.orcc.com][1]) is a leading outsourcer of e-financial services, with over 500 bank and credit union clients. The company’s comprehensive QuotienSM suite of services provides Internet banking, electronic bill payment-presentment, and other consumer and small business. e-finance applications. The company performs 24×7 customer care and consumer marketing services, giving clients the benefit of a single, integrated solution, backed by a unique end-to-end service guarantee and real-time transaction capabilities. Online Resources processes approximately 70 million transactions annually, including $3.5 billion in consumer bill payments.

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

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GE Profits

GE Card Services reported a 32% increase in net earnings during 2001, from $495 million in 2000 to $654 million last year. The data were released Friday in GE’s 2001 annual report which included significantly more detail than previous disclosures. During 2001, GE Card Services racked up $3.95 billion in revenues, a 1.4% increase over 2000. Between 1999 and 2000, GE Card Services revenues surged by 57% while profits soared by 153%. GE Card Services revenues for 1999 were $2.5 billion and $3.9 billion for 2000. Net earnings for 2000 were $196 million compared to $495 million for 2000. GE also reported it had $9.47 billion in securitized credit card receivables for 2001 compared to $6.17 billion for 2000. For complete details on GE’s annual report and quarterly reports visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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