a business unit of Schlumberger Limited, and Domain Dynamics Limited, the UK
voice and signal specialist, announced a security breakthrough for
mobile phones which safeguards access to handsets by means of voice
authentication. Unlike previous attempts at introducing biometric
technology for this application, the new system runs on a SIM (subscriber
identity module) card and requires no additional hardware, making it cost
effective and simple to introduce.

The technology ensures that only legitimate users can access a phone — or
its resources, such as phonebooks — by using a locking mechanism, which
operates in the familiar fashion of a PIN code. Authentication simply
requires the user to speak a phrase or word as the phone is switched on,
which is compared in real-time with a reference voiceprint stored inside the
tamper-proof SIM card’s memory.

This unique voice authentication system provides an ideal solution for the
current problem of mobile handset and service theft. It also serves as a
secure safeguard for industry -advancements, as higher bandwidths start to
allow mobile phones to be employed for m-commerce and confidential

“Voice authentication is the most natural method of introducing state of the
art security into the mobile phone marketplace,” said Jorgen Rasmussen,
president, Cards at SchlumbergerSema. “By basing the solution on the
standardized SIM platform, it becomes cost effective and simple, providing a
highly flexible mechanism for operators to address the widespread public
concern over privacy and security.”

The new system has been developed through a partnership between
SchlumbergerSema, which provides the SIM ToolKit applet, Domain Dynamics
Ltd, which provides the voice authentication algorithm, and Mitsubishi
Electric Telecom, which has implemented the technology on the Trium Mondo

The system is provided as a SIM ToolKit applet, which may be loaded onto any
standard Java Card( SIM. Leveraging the unique nature of the signal
processing algorithm designed by Domain Dynamics Ltd, and the lean nature of
the man-machine interface program, the applet is extremely small —
requiring just 2.5 Kbytes of memory in total.

This tiny memory usage includes everything required for the deployment and
use of voice authentication – from the enrollment process which lets a user
enter his or her voiceprint by repeating a chosen word or phrase three
times, through the generation of the reference biometric template which
stores the key characteristics of the voice, to the sign-on and comparison
procedure for daily use.

About SchlumbergerSema

SchlumbergerSema is a leading information technology services company
providing consulting, systems integration, managed services, and products to
the telecommunications, energy and utilities, finance, transport, and public
sector markets. With nearly 30,000 employees serving customers in 65
countries, SchlumbergerSema is one of two business segments of Schlumberger
Limited, a global technology services company. For more information about
SchlumbergerSema, visit http://www.slb.com.

About Domain Dynamics

Domain Dynamics Ltd, the voice and signal specialist, provides powerful,
compact and cost-efficient solutions for word recognition, voice
authentication biometrics, signal processing, and machinery condition
monitoring. Now moved to new headquarters in Reading, the company is
focusing primarily on solutions to applications in noisy or restricted
environments such as are encountered in mobile telephony, smart cards,
e-commerce, transportation, condition monitoring, and toys and games.



Mr. Eduardo Erana has been selected as the new President of Visa International, Latin America and Caribbean Region. The announcement was made following the latest meeting of the Visa LAC Regional Board of Directors held in Salt Lake City this week and was confirmed by Visa International President and CEO Malcolm Williamson.

“Eduardo has the experience and knowledge required to lead Visa’s efforts and achieve growth in Latin America and the countries of the Caribbean Basin,” Williamson said. “The relationships and contacts Eduardo has developed during his entire professional career in the financial industry throughout the Region will be instrumental for the success of our strategy to advance, expand and lead at the global level.”

As President of Visa Mexico until very recently, he actively promoted payment system modernization in that country, and is now assuming responsibility for an extremely dynamic market offering significant opportunities for vast development in all areas, including debit and commercial products. In fact, the LAC Region is currently one of the fastest-growing Visa regions in terms of sales volume.

Erana has a long track record in the banking industry. He joined Visa in 1984 as Executive Vice President. For 17 years prior to that, he led various strategic business areas at Bancomer, one of the largest banking institutions in Mexico. Erana was a member of the Visa International Board of Directors for the Latin America and Caribbean Region, and he also represented the Region on the International Board of Directors.

Visa is the world’s leading payment brand and the largest payment system worldwide. Visa-branded cards generate US$2 trillion in annual volume and are accepted at over 22 million merchant locations worldwide. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is the leading payment system on the Internet and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce or universal commerce, the ability to make purchases any time, anywhere, using any device. Visa, Latin America and Caribbean Region’s Internet address is



LML Payment Systems Inc. is pleased to
announce that 7-Eleven Inc. has commenced the roll-out of its new check
authorization system featuring LML’s proprietary retail electronic processing
system transaction software “REPS” to approximately 5,000 newly activated NCR
integrated cash registers located in approximately 2,400 7-Eleven stores.

Each NCR integrated cash register will communicate with LML’s processing
center in Scottsdale Arizona via a private wide area network effectively
reducing current transaction time from 10 to 3 seconds. Utilizing a national
negative database and a newly designed 7-Eleven-specific positive database
featuring powerful consumer identification cross-referencing characteristics,
the fully functional REPS authorization option will allow 7-Eleven management
to view and adjust authorization parameters and risk criteria on a chain
basis, division basis, store basis or individual cash register basis, as they
choose, all in real-time. The REPS system will also allow management to view
on-line real-time transactions and reports on a chain, division, store or cash
register basis.

The front-end authorization system is designed to work seamlessly with
both LML’s electronic check re-presentment (RCK) and electronic check
conversion (ECC) systems, both of which are also driven by REPS software and
designed to effectively create an “end-to-end” check authorization and
processing solution which includes electronic recovery of returned paper or
electronic check items. The REPS authorization system was piloted in 7-Eleven
stores located in Texas, California and Florida over the last three months.

“We are impressed with LML and their ability to bring a combination of
customer service, management and technical expertise to our check program,”
said Scot Lins, 7-Eleven’s Corporate Loss Prevention Director. “We were
introduced to electronic checking through a very successful RCK program
provided by LML. It’s well known that LML is a pioneer in the ECC process
where checks are converted to electronic transactions at the point-of-sale.
Once we have this project completely rolled out, ECC is a technology we expect
to be transitioning to in the near future,” continued Lins.

“We believe the combination of full REPS functionality driving both the
front-end authorization process and the back-end electronic check
re-presentment process provide a risk avoidance and recovery solution
previously unavailable to 7-Eleven. Naturally, robust authorization and
recovery solutions working seamlessly together, play important roles in the
successful electronification of checks including point-of-sale check
conversion,” said LML Payment Systems Corp.’s Vice-President of Payment
Processing, Pete Stenhjem.

The Corporation, through its subsidiary LML Payment Systems Corp., is a
financial payment processor providing check processing solutions including
electronic check authorization, electronic check conversion (ECC) and primary
and secondary check collection including electronic check re-presentment (RCK)
to national, regional and local retailers. We also provide selective routing
of debit, credit and EBT transactions to third party processors and banks for
authorization and settlement. The Corporation’s intellectual property estate,
owned by subsidiary LML Patent Corp, includes U.S. Patent No. 6,283,366, No.
6,164,528 and No. 5,484,988 which describe electronic check processing
methods. Also included in our intellectual property estate is a recently
received Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark
Office for a new patent also related to electronic check processing methods.


Palmera Fingerprints

SchlumbergerSema and Precise Biometrics have teamed to integrate Precise Biometrics ‘Match-on-Card’ technology with the SchlumbergerSema ‘Cyberflex Access’ and ‘Cyberflex Palmera’ smart cards. The integration provides smart cards that use the card-owner’s fingerprint as identification authentication instead of, or in addition to, a PIN. Precise Biometrics’ fingerprint authentication system embeds the biometric profile and the calculations inside the smart card. This allows the authentication capability to be directly accessed via the cards API. SchlumbergerSema offers the ‘Cyberflex Access’ card for IT applications, and the ‘Cyberflex Palmera’ card for banking applications.


Bankruptcy 4Q/01

Personal bankruptcy filings set a new record last year with 1,452,030 filings, a 19.2% increase over 2000. Chapter 7 filings were up 22.8% during 2001, with a record 1,054,925 filings processed. Stalled, but anticipated, bankruptcy reform legislation may have driven the record number of Chapter 7 filings. For the quarter ending Dec. 31st, 364,921 business and non-business filings were processed, a 17.7% increase over the same period one year ago, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. California continued to lead the country in personal bankruptcy filings, as a record 148,421 filings were made during 2001. However personal filings in California grew less than half the national rate. Ohio, Illinois, and Georgia handled more filings than the State of New York. Filings in Ohio grew more than 30% last year. For complete details on the latest and previous bankruptcy stats visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

California: 148,421 138,124 +7.45%
Florida: 85,216 71,284 +19.5%
Texas: 73,866 59,529 +24.1%
Illinois: 73,036 59,892 +21.9%
Ohio: 69,292 52,713 +31.5%
Georgia: 68,933 58,915 +17.0%
New York: 66,628 57,207 +16.5%
(Source: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts)

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


Providian UK Sale

Barclays Bank announced this morning it has signed a conditional agreement to acquire the UK credit card operation of Providian Financial. The portfolio consists of $565 million in receivables and about 500,000 cardholders. Reportedly the portfolio premium is the range of 15% to 17%. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter after clearance from the appropriate regulatory authorities. Providian said earlier this month it was in negotiations for the sale of its credit card business in the United Kingdom, and that its planned disposition of its operations in Argentina is progressing on schedule. During the fourth quarter, Providian designated its foreign businesses as “discontinued” and as a result added $86 million to its fourth quarter loss. Providian is still seeking a buyer for $3 billion in high-risk, sub-prime U.S. accounts. Providian reported a net fourth quarter loss of $395 million from continuing operations, compared to an operating profit of $225 million for 4Q/00. For complete details on Providian’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 1/11/02; 1/18/02; 2/01/02; 2/8/02)

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


AmEx Signs Insurance Co

The Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company (Atlantic Mutual) announced that its policyholders can now use their American Express Cards to pay their personal insurance premiums.

American Express Cardmembers need only complete one authorization agreement with Atlantic Mutual that permits the company to charge their accounts during the applicable billing cycles. The Atlantic Mutual credit card payment option is available in most states.

“We are extremely pleased to team up with American Express to offer this payment option,” said Daniel H. Olmsted, senior vice president, Personal Insurance Division, Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company. “This is just one more value-added benefit our customers have come to expect as we continue to offer a sophisticated approach to personal insurance.”

“We know that our Cardmembers want to put more and more of their expenses on the American Express Card,” said Glenda McNeal, vice president, new industries, American Express. “It allows them to earn valuable Membership Rewards points and to track and consolidate their spending. Teaming up with Atlantic Mutual is a terrific win for our mutual customers.”

The Atlantic Mutual Companies offer a range of commercial, personal and marine property-casualty insurance products through independent insurance agents and brokers. The Group’s operations are conducted through the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, the lead company, and the Centennial Insurance Company, the Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company, the Atlantic Lloyd’s Insurance Company of Texas, Atlantic Mutual of Bermuda Limited and Atlantic Risk Services, Inc. The Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, formed in 1842, is a mutual insurance company owned by its policyholders and has no capital stock and no shareholders. With 2001 gross premiums written of $987.1 million, the Atlantic Mutual Companies rank among the top U.S. property-casualty insurance groups.

Additional information about the Atlantic Mutual Companies can be found on the Internet at .

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, network and financial services provider founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning investment products, insurance and international banking. For more information, visit .


Equifax Marketing Services Group

Equifax Inc. announced the formation of a new Marketing Services Group dedicated to offering total marketing solutions to its customers. The new group’s focus will be to provide products and services that enable clients to target new customers and effectively manage and grow those relationships. Equifax’s Credit Marketing Services, Direct Marketing Solutions, Modeling and Analytics, Database Marketing, Account Decisioning and Authentication Services comprise the new group’s key businesses and its offerings will include:

* Credit pre-screening, portfolio risk management and analytical services to the financial, retail, automotive, insurance and telecommunications industries;
* Marketing data and list management for financial institutions, insurers, technology and manufacturers. The direct marketing database includes consumer lifestyle and demographic information for 112 million U.S. households;
* Decisioning solutions including Decision Power which enables clients to cross-sell and make credit decisions at the point of sale, whether that contact is in person, on the telephone or over the Internet;
* A patented Authentication tool which verifies on-line consumer identity and enables secure, private transactions over the Internet.

“The creation of Equifax Marketing Services is a natural extension of our strategy to leverage our market leadership, product innovation and technology to exceed our customers’ expectations,” said Tom Chapman, chairman and CEO. “By creating a single unit for these unique, value-added services, Equifax will deliver more comprehensive, predictive solutions to this key growth area for our customers.”

Paul Springman, a business executive at Equifax for the past 11 years, will run the new division and will report directly to Chapman.

About Equifax

Equifax, an S&P 500 company, enables and secures global commerce through its information management, consumer credit, marketing services, business information, authentication and e-commerce businesses. As the leader in information services, Equifax adds value wherever customers do business, including the financial services, retail, healthcare, telecommunications/utilities, information technology, brokerage, insurance and business lending industries and government. Equifax also enlightens, enables and empowers consumers to manage and protect their financial health with services offered at http://www.equifax.com . The company ranked in the top five in return on equity among Business Week’s Best Performers for 2001. Equifax employs 5,200 in 13 countries and has $1.1 billion in revenue.


Fargo 4Q/01

Minneapolis-based Fargo Electronics reported record net revenue of $60.9 million for the year ended Dec 31, an increase of 5% over 2000. Card personalization systems accounted for 44% of revenue in 2001. Net income for 2001 was $4.1 million, a 51% increase from the previous year. Net income for 2001 includes charges of $1.4 million for expenses related to the pending acquisition of Fargo by Zebra Technologies Corporation. As a result of the agreement to be acquired by Zebra, many of Fargo’s established distributors reexamined their relationship with Fargo. The company says dealers who had relied exclusively or predominantly on Fargo looked at other options, and some chose to begin adding products from the competition. However the firm says it is working hard to reverse the trend. For complete details on Fargo’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


Chevron Card E-Learning

Chevron Credit Card Enterprises, an operation of Chevron Products Co., and Aegis Learning Group of Dallas, Texas, announced that they have entered into an agreement to provide e-learning products, services and on-line training to Chevron credit card business customers.

Chevron Credit Card holders such as corporations and small businesses, Chevron gasoline stations, and other business partners will be able to access Aegis e-campus products through http://www.chevrononlinelearning.com by logging on to “ChevronCreditCard.com.” ALG courseware includes safety and health compliance, management and leadership, employment law, human resources management, and more.

ChevronCreditCard.com is a comprehensive web site that provides Chevron account holders and Chevron Travel Club members access to account data and the ability to perform specific functions for self-maintenance of their accounts. Through the web site, customers are also able to access various consumer offers and business resources, including the e-learning web site, [ http://www.chevrononlinelearning.com][1].

“ChevronOnlineLearning.com presents an opportunity for our business, as well as consumer customers to fulfill their training needs in a convenient, user-friendly, and cost-effective manner,” said Michael Woody, coordinator of Chevron Credit Card Enterprises’ direct marketing activities. “The web site offers a wide-range of online courses at competitive prices that we believe will become more and more important to our customers.”

“Our content fits the needs of small business clients extremely well and is a smart choice, for small- to mid-sized companies especially, because it does not require the overhead and cost associated with traditional training,” said Jon Phillips, chief operating officer of Aegis Learning Group. “We are pleased to join Chevron in providing this service to their customers.”

Chevron Products Co. is a business unit of San Francisco-based ChevronTexaco Corp. The Products company focuses on providing Chevron customers with quality gasoline and diesel products. Chevron Products Co. and its retailers are the leading retail fuel and convenience goods marketers in the West and Sunbelt. Through its Credit Card Enterprises operation, Chevron Products Co. directly manages the oil industry’s largest active proprietary credit card base consisting of over 3 million accounts.

Aegis Learning Group(TM) is an e-Learning solutions provider that delivers interactive business skills content promoting lifelong learning, performance support and risk management with comprehensive business skills training delivered exclusively over the Internet. Curricula include: OSHA, Employment Practices Liability Insurance, Human Resources Management, Project Management, communication, customer service, leadership, management, team building and interpersonal skills.

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


InfoSpace e-Debit/STV

WA-based InfoSpace has acquired substantially all of the technology and intellectual property of eCash Technologies and plans to extend its payments expertise to include stored value and e-debit solutions for merchants and financial institutions. InfoSpace says that through advanced encryption and digital signature technology, the debit solution is being designed to be able to authenticate the consumer and merchant, and authorize the payment via secure protocols developed by leading debit card associations. In addition, the solution is being designed to provide consumer identification and real-time verification of funds, allowing merchants to enjoy the equivalent of a “card present” transaction without certain of the fraud and charge-back concerns of “card not present” payments.InfoSpace also plans to offer merchants stored value coupon, incentive, loyalty and promotion services that can be redeemed both online and offline. In the fourth quarter, InfoSpace Merchant services processed more than $1 billion in transactions, up from $700 million reported in the previous quarter.


ORCC 4Q/01

VA-based Online Resources Corp. reported this week that is operating loss for the fourth quarter declined 71% to $1.2 million, versus a $4.2 million loss in the prior year. Revenue for the fourth quarter increased 34% to $6.7 million and gross profit margin increased to 47% of revenue. The Company continues to expect revenue to increase approximately 28% to 32% during 2002 and also projects gross profit margin in the range of 52% to 55%. Online Resources processes approximately 70 million transactions annually, including $3.5 billion in consumer bill payments. For complete details on ORCC’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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