ID-CHECK Patent

Intelli-Check, Inc., a developer of advanced document verification systems, announced it has received from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office a notice of allowance on a patent application that significantly broadens its patent coverage for its proprietary system for authenticating identification documents.

The notice of allowance is the last step toward receiving approval for a patent. The initial grant of patent rights for this technology was provided to Intelli-Check on January 26, 1999, under U.S. Patent No. 5,864,623.

The continuation patent expands the coverage and thus the potential commercial application of Intelli-Check’s original patent, further substantiating the Company’s leadership role in the emerging document verification market. Currently, most commercial transactions that require proof of ID utilize driver licenses whose format varies from state to state. The heart of Intelli-Check’s patented technology, contained in its ID-CHECK(R) unit, is its capacity to validate the information encoded on all currently issued driver licenses and state issued or military ID cards that conform to standards of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization (ISO). Frank Mandelbaum, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Intelli-Check, said, “The Company will hold four issued patents if the continuation patent is formally issued, with three others pending in the United States and overseas. As a result, Intelli-Check possesses a comprehensive intellectual property portfolio which we believe will be a valuable legal tool for thwarting potential infringements on its patents. We also believe that our intellectual property portfolio makes us especially well-positioned to compete in the marketplace.”

Intelli-Check, Inc. ([http://www.intellicheck.com][1]) is a developer and marketer of an advanced state-of-the-art document verification system for authenticating the validity of driver licenses and ID cards used as proof of identity. Intelli-Check’s multi-purpose ID-CHECK(R) units are fully capable of increasing security and as a tool that can be used to deter terrorism at military installations, high profile buildings, airports and other sites and are also an effective tool against “identity theft,” which often is supported by fake IDs and is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. ID-CHECK(R) units enable a user to prevent economic loss from check-cashing, credit card and various other frauds utilizing fake IDs and to determine whether purchasers of age-restricted products such as alcohol and tobacco meet minimum age requirements for their sale. ID-CHECK(R), with its patented technology, analyzes and displays information encoded in magnetic stripes and barcodes found on driver licenses, military identification and other forms of state and government-issued identification from more than 50 jurisdictions.

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

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Monopoly Lawsuit

A Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania business filed a lawsuit against credit card giants Visa and MasterCard, alleging that they conspired to monopolize the market for credit card services. The suit claims that Visa, MasterCard and the banks that issue those cards illegally agreed that the banks would not issue any other credit cards like American Express or Discover.

AAG International, Inc., a seller of militaria and other antiques, located at 1266 B Sans Souci Parkway, Wilkes-Barre, and its Chief Executive Officer Stephen L. Flood, filed the lawsuit in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Flood said he was bringing the lawsuit because he believes that competition in the marketplace is essential in bringing consumers lower prices. Flood, who is also the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Controller, recently refused to issue a county check to pay a bill from Joyce Insurance for Luzerne County’s insurance premium, saying that the county’s insurance business should be awarded to the lowest bidder.

The lawsuit, filed as a nationwide class action on behalf of AAG International by attorney Dianne M. Nast, seeks unspecified damages for all businesses that were forced to pay higher fees to accept Visa and MasterCard. Last October, a federal judge in New York found the challenged practice violates the federal antitrust laws.

According to Nast, “The fact that a federal judge has held the conduct of Visa and MasterCard illegal provides a strong foundation for the claims in this suit.” Nast said she expected that more suits would be filed alleging similar violations against Visa and MasterCard.

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H&R Block Check Machines

ACE Cash Express, Inc., the nation’s largest check-cashing chain and a significant provider of related retail financial services, today announced ACE and H&R Block have completed the installation of 100 automated self-service machines in select H&R Block offices in 21 states across the country for the 2002 tax season.

The machines will allow H&R Block clients to conveniently cash their tax refund checks in most instances in less than one minute in H&R Block offices. Last year, ACE installed H&R Block with 50 self-service machines during the 2001 tax season.

“Our relationship with H&R Block will introduce ACE to new tax customers, while providing additional convenience and savings to our current customers,” said Jay B. Shipowitz, president and chief operating officer of ACE. “ACE created this opportunity by integrating its check cashing underwriting rules and procedures into an automated self-service environment. We hope that introducing our check processing technology to the H&R Block network will accelerate our self-service business.”

“By building a relationship between companies who are leaders in their industry, we believe we have created an important and convenient service for our mutual consumers,” said Donald H. Neustadt, chief executive officer of ACE.

As part of the agreement, ACE also will refer clients to H&R Block by offering a $10 discount on tax preparation, and H&R Block will make its clients aware in certain offices of a discount on check cashing fees available through ACE.

About ACE

ACE Cash Express, Inc. is headquartered in Irving, Texas and is the largest owner, operator and franchiser of check-cashing stores in the United States. Founded in 1968, the company has a total network of 1,170 stores, consisting of 995 company-owned stores and 175 franchised stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia. ACE also maintains automatic check-cashing machines, which provide financial services without the need for a service associate, at 171 locations, 100 of which are located in H&R Block offices. ACE offers a broad range of financial and check-cashing services and is one of the largest providers of MoneyGram wire transfer transactions. In addition, ACE offers money orders, bill payment services, and prepaid local and long distance telecommunication services. Under ACE’s agreement with Goleta National Bank (GNB), GNB currently makes small consumer loans available to customers at various ACE company-owned stores. The company’s website is found at [http://www.acecashexpress.com][1] .

About H&R Block

H&R Block, Inc. is a diversified company with subsidiaries providing a wide range of financial services and products. In 2001, H&R Block served 19.2 million taxpayers — more than any tax or accounting firm — through its more than 10,400 offices located in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. H&R Block served another 2.3 million tax clients through its award-winning TaxCut(R) software program and its online tax preparation services. Investment services and securities products are offered through H&R Block Financial Advisors, Inc., member NYSE, SIPC. H&R Block, Inc. is not a registered broker-dealer. H&R Block Mortgage Corporation and Option One Mortgage Corporation offer a wide range of home mortgage products. RSM McGladrey, Inc. is a national accounting, tax and consulting firm with more than 100 offices nationwide, as well as an affiliation with 550 offices in 75 countries as the U.S. member of RSM International. Additional information is available on the company’s Web site at [http://www.hrblock.com][2].

[1]: http://www.acecashexpress.com/
[2]: http://www.hrblock.com/

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FDC Gains Accounts

First Data Corp. announced it will gain the credit card transaction processing for more than 3 million accounts through the JPMorgan Chase acquisition of the Providian Master Trust, comprised mainly of Providian’s higher-quality or “platinum” level assets. JPMorgan Chase announced the acquisition today.

First Data, the transaction processing market leader with 312 million accounts on file, will convert the portfolio later this year. The acquisition, expected to be completed in the first quarter, will increase Chase’s credit card portfolio to more than 27 million accounts and more than $49 billion in outstandings. Chase presently ranks as the fourth largest bankcard issuer and the fifth largest credit card issuer in the United States.

“This is a tremendous expression of Chase’s confidence in our strategic partnership and further strengthens our position as the leader in transaction processing,” said Charlie Fote, president and chief executive officer. “We’re pleased that Chase recognizes the competitive edge that we provide to help our clients more closely connect to their customers and more quickly respond to marketplace demands,” he added.

About First Data Corp.

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC), with global headquarters in Denver, powers the global economy. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves approximately 2.6 million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With 28,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit, smart card and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; Western Union(R) money transfers and money orders; and check processing and verifications services through the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Spain, The Netherlands, the Middle East and Germany. Its money transfer agent network includes approximately 117,000 locations in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdata.com][1].

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

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People’s 4Q/01

The contraction of the CT-based People’s Bank domestic credit card portfolio appears to have leveled off, although average receivables decreased 20% or $597 million during 2001. People’s also reported yesterday that charge-offs and delinquencies moderated during the fourth quarter. Net charge-offs for 4Q/01 were 7.36%, compared to 7.58% for 3Q01, and 4.62% for 4Q00. Delinquencies, as a percentage of quarter-end managed loans, were 4.08% compared to 4.19% for 3Q01 and 3.56% for 4Q00. People’s global portfolio dropped by $943 million, or 22% last year, primarily due to the sale of its U.K. portfolio. The U.K segment accounted for $405 million of the decline. People’s has about 2.5 million accounts according to CardData. For complete details on People’s fourth quarter 2001 and prior performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Providian Update

Another Fleet executive is headed to Providian to oversee the troubled issuer’s systems and operations. Providian also reported Thursday it has completed securitization transactions totaling $2.8 billion to replace maturing or amortizing transactions that total approximately $2.0 billion. Susan Gleason has joined Providian as Vice Chairman, Operations and Systems. Gleason managed Fleet’s operational functions, including all internal and external technology servicing, quality measurement, customer satisfaction performance and fraud. For 13 years prior to that, she worked at Household Credit Services. Gleason is the second top executive to exit Fleet to join CEO Joseph Saunders at Providian. Providian announced earlier this week that Warren Wilcox joined Providian as Vice Chairman, Planning and Marketing. Wilcox also worked with Saunders at Household. Meanwhile, the securitization deals include the completion of a $900 million program with Goldman, Sachs and Salomon Smith Barney. In addition to the transaction, the Company completed two further securitizations, one in the amount of $1.15 billion and the other in the amount of $1 billion. Providian has used proceeds of the new securitizations both to provide incremental liquidity and to renew or replace a number of funding structures. (CF Library 1/15/02)

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Small Business Network

American Express announced the creation of OPEN: The Small Business Network. The OPEN Network offers small business customers greater control and flexibility over their finances and other business needs by providing an expanded set of tools, services and savings. In addition to convenient access to working capital and credit information, instant decisioning on all card products and an online tool called the “financial dashboard,” the OPEN Network also provides savings on everyday business expenses and business services from an enhanced lineup of partners.

The creation of the OPEN Network demonstrates the company’s continued commitment to small businesses — a critical component of the nation’s economy, representing 99% of all U.S. businesses and creating three of every four new jobs. In 1987, American Express launched the first charge card specifically designed for small businesses. The creation of the OPEN Network replaces what was previously known as American Express Small Business Services, and all existing customers will automatically become part of the OPEN Network.

“American Express is a leader in serving small businesses and the creation of the OPEN Network raises the bar for what small businesses should expect,” said Kerry Hatch, executive vice president and general manager of OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express. “The OPEN Network offers small business owners a wide range of enhanced products and services designed to meet their evolving needs, while placing a growing emphasis on the Internet, since so many small business customers use the Internet for business purposes.”

Expanded Functionality and Business Partners

The OPEN Network brings advantages once associated only with big business to small business owners by harnessing the power of the Internet and leveraging strategic partnerships. It gives small business customers greater control and flexibility over their finances – two of their biggest needs, according to focus group research conducted by American Express.

Enhancements include:

* Online Account Management – The OPEN Network offers new, online credit features such as instant decisions on all card products, online card activation, 24×7 access to account information including balance, available credit and payment due date and pre-selected financing offers for existing customers. A new, easy-to-use online tool called the “financial dashboard” provides customers a secure view of their financial standing with American Express, allowing for simple account management.

In addition, small business credit or charge customers can sign up for account alerts through the financial dashboard that notify them through e-mail, cell phone or personal digital assistant when their payment is due or when there is out-of-pattern spending on their Cards.

* Everyday Savings from Industry Leading Partners – Members of the OPEN Network can enjoy new savings on everyday business expenses, including 5% at Dell(TM) and FedEx Ground(R) and 10% off the Best Available Rate at over 1,800 properties in The Hilton(R) Family of Hotels, including Hampton Inn(R) Hotels and Suites.(1) These new partners join the ongoing savings available from Exxon(R), FedEx Express(R), Hertz, Mobil(R) and Qwest(R).

* New Business Services Partners – Members of the OPEN Network also will have access to a host of new, value-added business services and discounts when they use their Cards, including:

* Dun & Bradstreet Small Business Solutions provides OPEN Network members with a discount (20% off Silver subscription rate) for online credit and collection tools used to minimize risk and make more informed, confident business decisions.

* The Small Business Billcenter, provided by Paytrust, enables OPEN Network members to receive, review, and pay all of their bills online in one secure and convenient location at a special savings.

* DigitalWork provides access to an affordable suite of Small Business Marketing Solutions, including direct mail, e-mail marketing and online advertising.

* Enhanced Business Listing on Citysearch.com, one of the core businesses operated by Ticketmaster, allows small business owners to post business listings online at their local Citysearch Web site yellow pages at 20% off.

* The Business Travel Center helps small business owners save money with online bookings for air travel, rental cars and hotels, including last minute specials, and provides extensive travel information resources.

* Flexible Payment Options – The OPEN Network provides charge card customers with a new, flexible payment option called the balance payment option, which enables qualified customers to extend payment on their balance for three months. Customers can also enroll in BusinessFlex(R) and automatically extend payment on their charge card balances for up to 12 months.

* Convenient Access to Working Capital, Loans and Lines of Credit – The OPEN Network provides convenient access to financing for small business owners. The online application process is quick and easy, and small business customers who qualify can receive business loans as early as the next business day.

* Online Community of Small Business Owners – At the OPEN Network Web site — open.americanexpress.com – small business owners can connect with other small businesses using a Dun & Bradstreet business directory of over 13 million U.S. companies and get answers to specific business questions from the OPEN Network Small Business Advisor. The OPEN Network will continue to build this online community of small business owners with site enhancements in the near future.

The OPEN Network also will launch new card products later this quarter to supplement the current range of card products it offers small business owners and continue to expand its products and services over time.

“Our small business customers have told us that they want a greater degree of control and flexibility in meeting their cash flow needs, but they also want to be served in the same way they serve their own customers. With new, flexible payment options, the enhancement of our online and off-line service capabilities and value-added savings from an expanding lineup of partners, we believe OPEN: The Small Business Network can expertly meet the unique needs of small business owners,” said Ms. Hatch.

Marketing the Launch of the OPEN Network

The creation of OPEN: The Small Business Network, marks the first time that American Express has created separate branding and a unique identity for one of its business units. The company will support the launch of the OPEN Network with an advertising campaign created by Ogilvy & Mather. Television advertising will break on January 19th during NCAA basketball and NFL playoff broadcasts, and the campaign will also appear in national newspapers and magazines. American Express will market the OPEN Network through direct mail, via the Internet, on outdoor billboards and through special events.

The OPEN Network represents a new way of doing business, and our new branding clearly communicates that to our customers,” continued Ms. Hatch. “We are open to listening to and understanding and meeting the challenges small business owners face day in and day out. We’re open to innovation, to change, and to long-term relationships that will help our customers succeed. And, of course, we’re open around the clock, so our customers can contact us when it’s convenient for them.”

About OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express

OPEN: The Small Business Network from American Express is a unit of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. The OPEN Network offers small business owners a wide range of tools, services and savings designed to meet their evolving needs, including convenient access to working capital and credit inform_tion, instant decisioning on all card products and savings on business services from an enhanced lineup of OPEN Network partners. The OPEN Network serves nearly three million customers and is dedicated to those companies with fewer than 100 employees. To obtain more information about the OPEN Network, visit open.americanexpress.com or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a card or loan.

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking.

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Citigroup 4Q/01

Citigroup reported this morning that profits for its North America Cards unit were up 21% for the fourth quarter and 19% for the full year. While receivables rose 2% last year to $108.9 billion, Citi’s charge volume grew a weak 1%. For the fourth quarter, charge volume declined slightly from $56.8 billion for 4Q/00 to $56.7 billion for fourth quarter 2001. Citi is also dealing with significantly higher charge-offs and delinquency than 2000. Charge-offs hit 5.91% for 4Q/01, compared to 5.48% in the third quarter, and 4.22% one year ago. Delinquency (90+ day) was 1.98% for the fourth quarter 2001, compared to 1.82% for 3Q/01, and 1.46% for 4Q/00. As of Dec 31st, Citi had 92.9 million credit card accounts in North America, excluding Diners Club. Outside of North America, Citigroup had 15.2 million credit card accounts generating $10.3 billion is sales volume and $13.6 billion in receivables during the fourth quarter. For complete details on Citigroup’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Morphis ATManager

Morphis, Inc. has released ATManager, an ATM and Cash Management business software system for automated teller machine networks and financial institutions. ATManager allows companies in the ATM business and financial institutions to more effectively manage their ATM network.

Lang Collins, VP of Marketing, is enthusiastic about the new software product “ATManager was developed over five years of working experience at one of the largest ISO’s in the country. It was conceived and implemented in a real world environment as over 1800 machines were managed over a 5 year period.”

Some of ATManager’s key features are: managing vendor information and lease agreements, keeping ATM machine inventories, importing and manipulating transaction information, performing vault cash management, site management and preparing income/expense statements. The software is implemented to provide users “total control” of ATM/cash management business operation, resulting in significant annual savings and overall increased efficiency. All data is analyzed to provide varied and useful reports.

ATManager provides an “Enterprise Wide Solution” for large numbers of ATMs. The software handles multiple networks and customers. Solutions are focused on individual ATMs and include all aspects of ATM/Cash management.

About Morphis, Inc.

Based in Dallas, Texas and established in September, 1999, Morphis, Inc. is a software development company dedicated to providing solutions to business needs. Morphis also provides techinical and operational consulting for a variety of industries. Their first software product, ATManager, was developed to assist in the management of ATM machines and was developed after more than 5 years of real world experience.

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ICBA Promotes Lorence

ICBA Bancard is pleased to announce the following staff promotion. Chris Lorence has been named Vice President of National Sales and State Association Liaison for ICBA Bankcard, an affiliate of the Independent Community Bankers of America. His duties include sales, product support and ensuring product/service satisfaction. As Liaison, Chris is responsible for the relationships between Bancard and 31 State Associations representing independent community bankers. Before coming to Bancard, Chris was Chief Operation Officer of a community based financial organization and has 9 years of senior management experience within the banking community. He has been an employee of ICBA Bancard since February 1999.

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Chase 4Q/01

Chase reported Wednesday its operating earnings for its credit card division rose 33% in the fourth quarter and 16% for the full year. Credit card outstanding were up 12% for the year, ending at $40,811,000,000. On a managed basis, the credit card net charge-off ratio was 5.48% in the fourth quarter of 2001, compared to 5.64% for the third quarter of 2001 and 4.86% for the fourth quarter of 2000. For complete details on Chase’s 4Q/01 performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

CHASE U.S. HISTORICAL
3Q/01 2Q/01 3Q/00 Ann Chg
Recv: $38.2b $37.4b $33.0b +15.8%
Q Vol: $17.9b $17.7b $15.3b +17.0%
Accts: 23.0m 22.0m 19.7m +16.8%
Actives: 14.0m 13.8m 12.5m +12.0%
Cards: 32.1m 30.8m 27.6m +16.3%
b-billion m-million Source: CardData(www.carddata.com)

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

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Woodworkers Warehouse Card

Trend-Lines Inc. has tapped Shoppers Charge Accounts Co., a division of Hudson United Bank of Mahwah, N.J., to develop and administer a private label credit card program for its Woodworkers Warehouse chain.

Based in Lynn, Mass., Woodworkers Warehouse bills itself as America’s largest specialty discounter of top-quality, brand-name woodworking tools, accessories, and supplies. Its customer base includes consumers and professional contractors. The chain currently operates 99 stores throughout the Northeast, with units located in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Plans call for opening an additional three to five stores each year, starting in 2002.

SCA services brick-and-mortar and catalog retailers, who also have e-commerce businesses, throughout the U.S. The company acquires retailers’ receivables or will develop private label credit card programs for merchants who currently don’t offer a house charge. In both situations, SCA assumes responsibility for generating customers’ billing statements; managing credit, collection, and lockbox functions; and creating customized marketing programs. Ranked among the nation’s largest private label credit card companies, SCA is a division of Hudson United Bank, a subsidiary of Hudson United Bancorp (NYSE: HU).

Hudson United Bancorp is a $6.7 billion asset company with over 200 branch offices in New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania. Hudson United Bancorp’s subsidiaries offer a full array of innovative products and services to commercial and retail accounts, including imaged checking accounts, 24-hour telephone and Internet banking, loans by phone, alternative investment products, insurance products, private label credit cards programs and a wide variety of commercial loans and services including asset based loans, SBA loans, international services and cash management services. Wealth management services are also provided to individuals and businesses. Public sector products and services are provided to local and state governments, municipalities, educational institutions, civic and not-for-profit organizations.

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