Credit Scores

Shopping credit card rates based on FICO scores may not be far off. This morning, Fair, Isaac announced that, for the first time, U.S. consumers can learn what residential mortgage and auto loan interest rates are being offered by lenders in their state based on their FICO credit risk score. Fair, Isaac obtains the regional interest rate information from Informa Research Services. The firm performs daily surveys of the products offered by more than 5,000 financial organizations nationwide. In one visit to MyFICO.com consumers can purchase their current FICO score, get Fair, Isaac’s detailed explanation of their score and the underlying Equifax credit report, and see what loan rates correlate to their score. Fair, Isaac’s FICO score explanation report includes personalized suggestions for improving the score over time, based on the individual’s credit history.

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Card Stocks

Investors have more confidence in sub-prime issuers as the stock of Providian and Metris continues to surge this week, however, concerns over the handling of credit card securitizations may affect some issuers today, such as Bank One/First USA. Providian continues to gain ground as its stock price hit $5 per share yesterday, a 9.8% gain. The company’s stock picked up more than 12% on Monday. Metris, already up 22.4% for the week, gained another 6.5% yesterday, to close at $22.14. Atlanta-based sub-prime issuer, CompuCredit, also picked up 2.4% yesterday, hitting $5.60 per share. The CardWeb.com 100 Index gained 3.3% on Monday. MBNA and Capital One picked up slight again yesterday following a strong Monday. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal this morning raised questions about Bank One’s accounting practices in regard to certain card securitizations.

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Unisys & Arcot VbV

Unisys Corporation and Arcot Systems, Inc. announced an alliance to offer a complete, turnkey solution to Visa’s member financial institutions and card processors implementing Visa’s Internet payment authentication process, Verified by Visa.

The new password protection is designed to give consumers greater control over when and where their card is used, further reducing the potential for unauthorized card use on the Internet. Under the terms of the global agreement, Unisys will sell the service globally, distribute the Arcot TransFort product to end users, then configure, deploy, support, and service the total solution worldwide, letting card issuers quickly and efficiently offer their cardholders this valuable service.

Verified by Visa allows consumers to actively protect their Visa accounts from unauthorized use by selecting a personalized password for Web purchases. Each time cardholders make purchases at participating online stores, they are automatically presented with a Verified by Visa window where they enter their password and authenticate themselves to the Issuer.

Verified by Visa significantly minimizes fraud and customer disputes because only the cardholder and their card Issuer know the password. The solution features Arcot’s TransFort payer authentication product implemented by Unisys on the customer’s platform of choice, backed by Unisys world-class services and resources.

“By combining Arcot’s leading payer authentication software with our world class team and resources, we can deliver with confidence and speed a powerful, reliable Verified by Visa solution to banks and card processors worldwide,” said John Joly, director, Global Card Program, Unisys. “This program will be crucial to our card-issuing customers. They have an immediate need for a fast and reliable implementation of this service.”

“Verified by Visa is key to increasing customer confidence in the online shopping experience and reducing the incidence of fraud,” said Chet Silvestri, president and CEO of Arcot Systems. “That is why our TransFort product must work seamlessly 24 by 7 especially during peak shopping periods. Our proven TransFort software, supported by a solid Unisys team, will assure banks and processors they can deliver the highest level of service to their cardholders.” Arcot TransFort is the first solution to be named compliant by the Visa Compliance Testing Facility for the Visa Authenticated Payment Program, and has been field-tested and deployed by banks and merchants worldwide for over 15 months. Verified by Visa is designed to bring the same level of security to the virtual world as Visa has in the physical world by confirming to the e-merchant that the online buyer is the actual cardholder.

About Arcot

Arcot Systems, Inc., is the leading provider of authentication and access control solutions for securing e-business in Internet-scale, transactional and wireless environments. Only Arcot provides cost-effective, scalable, software solutions based on the ArcotID Software Smart Card for strongly authenticating users and transactions for payment systems, Web-based email, Web portals and virtual private networks. Arcot solutions meet the business need for strong transactional security while providing the customer a user-friendly experience with anytime, anywhere convenience. Leaders in financial services, healthcare, and e-commerce are using Arcot solutions to protect their customers’ privacy and reduce fraud. For more information, visit [http://www.arcot.com][1].

About Unisys

Unisys is a worldwide information technology services and solutions company whose 39,000 people help clients in more than 100 countries utilize technology to seize opportunities, overcome challenges and succeed in the global economy. The company offers a rich portfolio of business solutions led by its expertise in consulting and systems integration, outsourcing, network services and security, coupled with leading enterprise-class server and related technologies. Primary vertical markets for Unisys worldwide are the financial services, transportation, communications, media, commercial and public sectors, including U.S. federal government customers. Unisys is headquartered in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, in the Greater Philadelphia area. For more information on the company, access the Unisys home page on the World Wide Web at [http://www.unisys.com][2]. Investor information can be found at a href=http://www.unisys.com/investor.

[1]: http://www.arcot.com/
[2]: http://www.unisys.com/

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Net First Trouble

The OCC said yesterday the defunct FL-based Net First National Bank failed to comply with 19 of the 20 articles in a enforcement action taken 18 months ago. The September 2000 enforcement action by the OCC required the bank to take a series of steps to develop and implement sound credit administration and underwriting practices; hire competent, experienced, and permanent senior management; and develop and implement a capital plan and a strategic plan acceptable to the OCC. In addition, 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. The OCC found a number of unsafe and unsound practices at the bank, including: weak loan underwriting, excessive turnover among senior management, disarray among the Board of Directors, insufficient capital to support the risks undertaken by the bank, and inaccurate financial books and records. Most of the bad loans involved were SBA loans. However the bank had minimal exposure to any risk associated with the “Net 1st MasterCard” since the card is issued with a balance equal to the credit limit. According to Atlanta-based Impulse Marketing, the “Net 1st MasterCard” has been issued to more than 500,000 consumers to-date and signs up an average of 1,500 per day. The program generated substantial fee income to Net First National Bank. CO-based Equitex and its FL-based Key Financial Systems subsidiary, which markets and services the credit card program, is now seeking a buyer for its portfolio which holds about $5 million in secured card deposits. The firm hopes to resume marketing its patented “Pay-As-You-Go” credit card program with another issuer. Under the “Pay-As-You-Go” card program, consumers receive a credit card with a $500 balance and 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.

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MasterCard Referrals Work

Merchant Services, Inc., a leading provider of bankcard merchant services, announced they have signed Hitachi Cable Manchester, Inc., a division of Hitachi, Ltd., to a multi-year agreement for credit card processing services.

MSI credits the MasterCard International Referral Progam for the deal. The program focuses on connecting qualified Merchant Service Providers like MSI with appropriate merchants that are interested in accepting MasterCard cards. HCM is the world’s leading manufacturer of copper, fiber optic, and electronics cable. The company will use an end-to-end solution provided by MSI that includes PC-based software, transaction authorization and settlement services for credit card payment.

“The MasterCard program through MSI is a salesman’s dream – great leads passed straight to the reps while they’re still hot,” said Jesse Guzman, the MSI sales associate who sold the HCM contract. “HCM was two weeks from contact to close. You cannot beat that! But I credit the leadership at MSI for making this program work. Not many people in this industry would pass gems like these on to their reps and ISOs, but MSI does because they are truly team-oriented,” he noted. “HCM knew what they were looking for — technology, support, and competitive rates,” continued Mr. Guzman. “HCM picked MSI because they liked the ease-of-use of our PC solution, the built-in multiple gateways, and the fact that we were end-to-end. They were impressed with the quality of our support organization, especially MSI’s responsiveness to incoming support calls. Of course, they also understand the market well and were looking for great buy rates, and quickly saw that MSI is one of the most competitive firms you can find.”

HCM will be taking credit cards for the first time. The company will primarily use the MSI system and processing services to process credit card transactions for corporate purchasing cards, a service that is increasingly desired by their clients and an important growth market for MasterCard. Hitachi Cable Manchester, Inc. is a division of Hitachi, Ltd., the world’s ninth largest company. At their 225,000 square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility located in East Industrial Park, Manchester, New Hampshire, the company manufactures a comprehensive range of copper, fiber optic, and electronics cable for use in computer, industrial, automotive, medical, and other electronic OEM applications.

About MSI ([http://www.msihq.com][1])

MSI, headquartered in New Jersey, is one of the premier credit/debit card processors serving the market. Founded in 1989, MSI today serves more than 15,000 businesses across the nation. The company offers end-to-end transaction processing solutions for Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and private label card acceptance. MSI is dedicated to achieving the highest levels of client satisfaction through exceptional service available 24X7, coupled with state-of-the-art software and hardware. The company equally values its relationships with its sales associates and independent sales organization partners, and regards lead sharing, support, competitive pricing, and prompt payment of residuals as essential to mutual and enduring success. By offering several processing options and the broadest number of payment options in the industry, MSI approves 98% of all merchant applications. For additional information please visit our Web site: [www.msihq.com][2] .

[1]: http://www.msihq.com/
[2]: http://www.msihq.com/

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SMART INLAYS ORDER

NanoPierce Technologies, Inc., announced that its ExypnoTech GmbH i.G.
subsidiary has placed a
purchase order for its first production system for smart inlays, which are
used
in the manufacturing of smart labels.

The chosen flip-chip die bonding system from F&K Delvotec, Munich, Germany, is
optimized to manufacture high volumes of smart inlays for RFID (radio
frequency
identification) smart labels using NanoPierce’s proprietary WaferPierce(TM)
technology and a high-speed bonding process developed at NanoPierce’s
application laboratory in Munich under the leadership of Michael Kober.
Delivery of the production system is scheduled for late Spring 2002.
NanoPierce has identified the emerging RFID market as one of its primary
target
markets for application of its NCS technology. The large volume of low-cost
disposable devices makes this a particularly attractive market for NanoPierce
where it believes it enjoys a sustainable competitive advantage. RFID devices
are increasingly being used in many applications such as express mail
services,
luggage tracking, article surveillance, product authenticity, inventory
control,
and library management. RFID devices are seen as the next-generation
replacement for barcode labels, which in 1999 reported a volume of 6.5 billion
units in four major applications (express mail service, luggage tracking,
article surveillance, library management).

ExypnoTech GmbH i.G., the Rudolstadt, Germany-based subsidiary of NanoPierce
will initially be the site of and responsible for the production and marketing
of smart inlays.

Michael Kober commented: “It is an exciting time for me and my team,
transferring the process we have established in the laboratory to an automatic
production system. I also feel very fortunate that, in addition to our
existing
partnership with Simotec, in F&K Delvotec we have found another outstanding
partner to realize this important smart inlay production facility. I am
convinced that from both the economic and technical standpoints we have
jointly
created a more than competitive concept for successful production. An ideal
combination: WaferPierce(TM) and our new advanced flip-chip bonding process
packaged into a system which has been repeatedly proven in the semiconductor
market worldwide.”

Dr. Michael E. Wernle, CEO & President of both ExypnoTech GmbH i.G., and
NanoPierce Card Technologies GmbH, emphasized: “Our partnership with F&K
Delvotec is another cornerstone in our global cooperation network.
Coincidentally, F&K Delvotec and NanoPierce share the same distributor in the
important electronics assembly market of Taiwan, HiYen Trading International
Ltd. of Taipei.”

Paul H. Metzinger, President and Chief Executive Officer of NanoPierce said:
“With production capability of WaferPierce(TM) established in our Colorado
Springs facility (see press release dated January 15, 2002, “NanoPierce
Technologies To Commence WaferPierce(TM) Production.”) and surging market
demand for smart inlays we are announcing to the industry that we are going
into production of smart inlays. The purchase of our first smart inlay
production system will send a powerful signal to our customers and to the
market that we are prepared to meet their requirements.”
Desmond Bradley, Sales and Marketing Manager International of F&K Delvotec
Bondtechnik GmbH, commented: “We are proud to have won this contract based on
the proven performance of our die bonding system and thus to be associated
with
NanoPierce’s innovative process. We see the order as further confirmation of
the flexibility of our already market-proven solution for use in such advanced
applications, and a significant opportunity in the smart label industry.”

About NanoPierce Technologies, Inc.

NanoPierce Technologies, Inc. of Denver, Colorado, USA, is traded on the
NASDAQ
stock market (OTCBB:NPCT) as well as on the Frankfurt and Hamburg
(OTC:NPI). In
addition to the 12 patents it owns, NanoPierce has numerous applications
pending, others in preparation, and various other intellectual properties
related to NanoPierce’s proprietary NCS (NanoPierce Connection System). This
advanced system is designed to provide significant improvement over
conventional electrical and mechanical interconnection methods for
high-density
circuit boards, components, sockets, connectors, semiconductor packaging and
electronic systems.

About ExypnoTech GmbH i.G.

ExypnoTech GmbH i.G., located in Rudolstadt, Germany, is a 100% subsidiary of
NanoPierce Technologies, Inc. ExypnoTech will produce smart inlays using the
benefits of the new WaferPierce(TM) flip-chip process developed by NanoPierce
Connection Systems, Inc. ExypnoTech will very soon become one of the key
players in the rapidly growing RFID market.

About F&K Delvotec

F&K Delvotec Bondtechnik GmbH is a respected technological leader in the field
of automated assembly for the microelectronic industry, offering the broadest
range of bonding equipment with the latest state-of-the-art technology. The
company specializes in automated solutions for very demanding, high-quality
bonding processes and serves leading multinational companies worldwide. Its
chairman, Dr. Farhad Farassat, was recently awarded the prestigious German
“Entreprenuer of the Year 2001, category: Industry” prize in recognition of
F&K
Delvotec’s international success through outstanding innovative technology and
corporate culture.

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Card Stocks

The broad stock market rally has been pushing up financial services stocks, especially credit card related stocks, according to the CardWeb.com 100 stock index. Investors are buying on the recent good news in consumer spending, manufacturing, and construction which provides further evidence that the recession is over. However, based on pre-market activity this morning, the market may shift gears today. Yesterday, Metris was the big winner, gaining 22.4% to close at $20.79 per share. Providian continues to gain ground, closing at its highest level since the release of its third quarter earnings report. Providian closed at $4.55 per share, a 12.6% one-day gain. Meanwhile, Capital One gained 9.1% and MBNA picked up 6.4% yesterday. American Express closed at $39.38, up 5.5%. The CardWeb.com 100 stock index is up about 5% for the week.

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APS Buys PSAT

American Payment Systems, a wholly owned business unit of UIL Holdings Corporation, announced the purchase of PaySmart America Technologies, Inc. from PaySmart America and the execution of a strategic alliance with PaySmart America.

PaySmart America Technologies delivers real-time point of sale activation (POSA) transaction processing solutions for the prepaid telecommunications industry. The company will add to APS’s expertise in transaction processing. APS is the nationwide leader in providing walk-in bill payment processing. Annually, APS processes approximately $10 billion and 100 million transactions through more than 7,500 retail locations across 44 states. This transaction, coupled with APS’s earlier acquisition of Cell Cards, positions APS as a provider of both product and transaction services to the prepaid marketplace. For additional information contact: Corey Stone, Executive Vice President, American Payment Systems, 800-309-7668, ext. 4700 or E-mail Corey_Stone@apsnet.com.

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FraudNet

Safewww, Inc., which provides strong two-factor authentication for secure online access, payments, and transactions, this week launched FraudNet, a system created to protect payment providers, processors, and Web merchants from revenue loss caused by repeat fraud.

A recent report from Meridien Research shows that online payment fraud will increase from $1.6 billion worldwide in 2000 to $15.5 billion in 2005, as the number of online payments continues to increase. Meanwhile, 40% of Internet retailers were victims of online fraud committed several times by the same perpetrator, according to a study commissioned by Experian in August 2000. FraudNet provides lock-out protection from fraudsters’ PCs before repeat fraud strikes by logging suspect PCs into a negative online database maintained by any card issuer, Web merchant, payment provider or payment processor. FraudNet uses a non-intrusive process that registers and uniquely identifies each PC by assigning a “fingerprint” (or “hardware signature”) to the computer when a customer enrolls for his or her online account. When illegitimate or fraudulent use is encountered, the suspect PC is flagged in a negative database, blocking future transactions from occurring from the machine. This helps prevent exposure to repeat fraud, while also acting as a deterrent to potential fraudsters, and does not require users to remember any additional passwords, carry a smart card or e-token, or purchase any expensive biometric device. This allows FraudNet to remain unobtrusive to customers, not interfering in the online experience, while being simple for providers to use, implement, and maintain.

“The economic and social costs of online fraud need to be countered with strong authentication and fraud-prevention technology that doesn’t inconvenience the consumer,” said Kenneth Bob, president and CEO of Safewww, Inc. “Cyber-criminals often steal multiple online identities or credit card numbers, and then use this information to perpetrate fraud from a single computer. FraudNet helps businesses stop these repeat fraudsters, reducing their fraud-related liabilities and bolstering consumer confidence that will lead to higher online enrollment and more online transactions.”

About Safewww, Inc.

Founded in 1999 by Israeli Internet security entrepreneurs, Safewww, Inc. provides identity protection products and services for business and personal Internet transactions. With corporate headquarters in the U.S. and a research and development center in Israel, Safewww has established strategic alliances and received investment capital in the U.S., Israel, Spain, China, Japan, and Argentina. Its target online markets include banking, B2B exchanges, digital music and video, auctions, store cards, and gaming. Utilizing patent pending third-party user authentication and content encryption technology, Safewww’s impenetrable and simple-to-use solution allows Internet transactions to achieve the utmost in security without the need to transmit confidential information over the Internet. For more information please see Safewww’s Web site at [http://www.safewww.com][1]. For sales information on Safewww contact William Sussman at (516) 390-4790 or go to [http://www.safewww.com][2]

[1]: http://www.safewww.com/
[2]: http://www.safewww.com/

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RECON-NET CLIENTS

Trintech Group Plc, a global provider of
secure electronic payment infrastructure solutions, announced that
four major restaurant chains in the U.S. have selected PayWare ReconNET, the
company’s industry-leading deposit verification and credit card reconciliation
solution. The four companies, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, Panera Bread
Company, Boddie-Noell Enterprises, and Braum’s Ice Cream, bring the total of
ReconNET customers in the restaurant sector to 35. This provides further
evidence that ReconNet is becoming the industry standard for reconciliation
solutions in the chain restaurant market.

Combined, the four restaurant companies have an annual revenue of
approximately $3.5 billion and include well-known international restaurant
brands such as TGI Friday’s and Hardees. According to studies conducted by
Trintech, the deployment of ReconNET should allow these companies to reduce
their costs and improve operational efficiencies, thus boosting operating
results. ReconNET 6.0 includes accelerated search and interactive
reconciliation capabilities and a number of enhanced features such as
bank-to-book reporting improvements, advanced fiscal calendar capability,
improved ease-of-use, and enhanced administrative tools.

“We are very pleased to have chosen ReconNET to manage all of our deposit
verification and credit card resolution requirements,” said Matt Helm,
Director of Treasury Operations at Carlson Restaurants Worldwide. “We are
confident that ReconNet will help us with our goals of maximizing technology
to accelerate productivity, minimizing exposure to exceptions and unexpected
shortages, and improving cash management processes.”

“The signing of these world-class restaurant groups is confirmation of
ReconNET’s leadership in this important sector,” said Tom DeLany, Director of
Product Management in the Funds Management Systems Division at Trintech. “The
35 restaurant groups utilizing ReconNET have already achieved significant
benefits from utilizing the solution’s unique automated reconciliation
technology and we believe ReconNET is becoming the industry-standard in the
restaurant sector.”

About ReconNET

ReconNET, part of Trintech’s PayWare suite of products, provides
business-to-business enterprise reconciliation and treasury platforms that
streamline the management of cash deposits, credit card payments and
disbursements. ReconNET is currently in use by more than 275 of the largest
merchants, financial institutions, insurance companies, telcos, and
multi-national corporations in North America and Europe.

ReconNET 6.0’s powerful new feature set provides companies with
significant productivity improvements and enables them to tighten cash
controls, reduce bank fees, decrease idle balances, and effectively communicate
positions with their various bank and field locations. ReconNET 6.0 also
integrates seamlessly with existing IT environments and can automate
reconciliation for debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, and disbursements,
while providing easy-to-use research and resolution tools for outstanding
items.

Among the more than 275 leading organizations using ReconNET are such
well-known companies as Target Corporation, Eddie Bauer, The Limited, Radio
Shack, Foot Locker, Best Buy, Hallmark Cards, Verizon Wireless, Sprint PCS,
Kroger, AMC Theaters, Budget Rent a Car, Outback Steakhouse, Burger King,
Wendy’s, and many others.

For additional information about the ReconNET solution, contact Trintech
at 15851 Dallas Parkway, Suite 940, Addison, TX 75001 (Tel: 972-701-9802) or
on the Internet at
http://www.trintech.com/ReconNET.

About Trintech

Founded in 1987, Trintech is a leading provider of secure electronic
payment infrastructure solutions for card-based transactions for physical
world commerce, eCommerce and mobile commerce. The company offers a complete
range of payment software products for credit, debit, commercial and
procurement card applications, as well as being a world leader in the
deployment of payment solutions for Internet commerce that are fully SSL and
SET(TM) compliant. Trintech’s range of scalable open systems architecture
solutions for UNIX(R) and Windows NT(TM) platforms covers consumer, merchant
and financial institution requirements for physical payments and the emerging
world of electronic commerce. Trintech can be contacted in the U.S. at
2755 Campus Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403 (Tel: 650-227-7000) and in Ireland at
Trintech Building, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18
(Tel: 353-1-207-4000). Trintech can be reached on the Web at
http://www.trintech.com.

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Concord Acquisition

Concord EFS continues to make more acquisitions as it announced this morning an agreement to acquire TX-based Core Data Resources, a privately-held electronic transaction processor. Core Data currently drives approximately 35,000 ATMs. Core Data specializes in developing and marketing turn-key ATM processing services for retailers and ISOs. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed but the firm did say that it expects to close the deal in the second half of 2002. Concord, the largest ATM processor in the U.S., drives approximately 58,000 ATMs, including those signed and in the process of being converted to Concord’s platform as of year-end 2001.

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New Fargo Printer

Fargo Electronics unveiled the new HDP820 “High Definition Printing” card printer/encoder this morning. The HDP820 includes eight firmware upgrades, eight enhancements for reliable card feeding, six changes for improved printing and encoding, and two serviceability modifications from the HDP720, which Fargo introduced nearly three years ago. “High Definition Printing” technology prints images onto a special HDP Film, which is then fused into the surface of the card through heat and pressure. The new HDP820 also offers Fargo’s recently introduced internal “E-Card Docking Station” with one, two, or three e-card encoders, to manage card technologies such as ISO 7816 contact smart chips, Mifare contactless smart chips, and HID proximity cards. (read-only).

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