The Auxer Group, Inc. (
announced that its subsidiary, CT
Industries, Inc., formerly introduced its line of prepaid calling cards under
the new Platinum Series.
The line has been introduced with four products: African Talk,
Kamustahan, One Cent America and El Sol Mexicano. The Platinum
Series currently focuses on Asia, Mexico, Africa and the domestic markets. The
line is expected to expand to six products in January. The Company has been
working on forming its network of tier one carriers, as well as strengthening
its customer service team and its customer base during the year 2001.


The Auxer Group is a holding company that consists of two groups; a
Telecommunications Group and an Automotive Group. The Telecommunications Group
is focused on distribution of prepaid products, which includes The
and One Cent America(TM). The Automotive Group is focused on aftermarket
wholesale and distribution of automotive and marine products and parts, which
includes Easy Test(R) and Garry’s Royal Satin(TM).



In order to adapt its
structures to
a rapidly evolving commercial environment, Gemplus International SA announced
the following changes to its senior management and Board of Directors.

– Following the announcement that Antonio Perez has decided to resign his
as Chief Executive Officer and director to pursue other interests, Mr. Ronald
Mackintosh, an existing member of the board of directors, has been named as
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Committee, effective
immediately. In order to focus on his new responsibilities, Mr. Mackintosh has
resigned from his position on the board of directors.

– Dr. Marc Lassus, founder and one of the largest shareholders of Gemplus, has
agreed with the approval of the board to cease his office as chairman of the
board effective January 10, 2002. The board, with the agreement of Mr. Lassus,
has elected Dr. Hasso Von Falkenhausen to the board effective immediately and
designated him as Chairman commencing on January 10, 2002. Dr. Von
previously served as Chairman of Gemplus from 1997 to 1999. Dr. Lassus remains
a director of the company.

– David Bonderman, founding partner of the Texas Pacific Group, has joined the
board of directors and has been elected Vice Chairman. Abel Halpern has
resigned as Vice Chairman but remains as a director of Gemplus.

– Mr. Andrew Dechet and Dr. Bertrand Cambou have resigned as directors.

– A committee of the Board of Directors will hire an international search firm
to begin an immediate search for a new, permanent CEO and a new permanent
Chairman for Gemplus.

In a statement, the Board of Directors said:

“The appointments of Dr. von Falkenhausen and Mr. Mackintosh bring new
leadership and strength to the Gemplus management team. Both are
highly-regarded professionals with significant experience in operating
technology companies and growing businesses. Dr. von Falkenhausen, who
represented a significant investor and was a board member of Gemplus through
much of the 1990’s has a strong working knowledge of the company that will be
invaluable in maintaining Gemplus’s leadership in providing smartcard

In a statement, Dr. von Falkenhausen and Mr. Mackintosh said: “We remain
absolutely convinced of the power and potential of Gemplus technology. We
intend to work with the employees of Gemplus to strengthen and expand our
leadership position in our key vertical markets – telecommunications,
services and e-business security. However, as we focus, we must rebuild the
energy and entrepreneurial spirit that has made Gemplus the company it is
today, and we need to rely on our strength in smartcards as we move up the
value chain and develop software and service solutions around our core

Dr. von Falkenhausen returns to Gemplus after retiring in 1999. He is a
managing director of PolyTechnos Venture Partners, a German venture capital
fund he co-founded in 1998. From 1987 through 2000, Dr. von Falkenhausen
and supervised the plastic card related products and services business of
DataCard Corporation, Minneapolis, for the Dr. Herbert Quandt family in Bad
Homburg, Germany. Following an investment in Gemplus in 1993, Dr. von
Falkenhausen became a member of the Directoire of the company and, ultimately,
Chairman of the Board from 1997 until his retirement in 1999. Dr. von
Falkenhausen has held numerous Board positions in German and international

Mr. Mackintosh served from July 2000 as Chief Executive of UK-based
Differentis, an e-business integrator. From 1990-2000, he served in a
number of
executive capacities of Computer Sciences Corporation, most recently as
President and Chief Executive of CSC’s European Group. Throughout his career,
he has held a number of executive positions in companies involved in
information technology.

About Gemplus

GEMPLUS: the world’s number one provider of solutions empowered by Smart

Gemplus helps its clients offer an exceptional range of portable, personalized
solutions that bring security and convenience to people’s lives. These include
mobile Internet access, inter-operable banking facilities, e-commerce, and a
wealth of other applications.
Gemplus is the only completely dedicated, truly global player in the Smart
industry, with the largest R&D team, unrivalled experience, and an outstanding
track record of technological innovation.
Gemplus trades its shares on Euronext (Sicovam 5768) Paris S.A. First Market
and on the Nasdaq (GEMP) Stock Market. Its revenue in 2000 was 1.205 Billion
Euros. It employs 6 800 people in 37 countries throughout the world.
Gemplus: Your Passport to the Digital Age


Vending Card Payments

Pepsi-Cola North America and New York City-based U.S. Wireless Data have launched a pilot to test a system that enables consumers to pay for Pepsi soft drinks with credit cards. The test, launched in Memphis this week, uses wireless technology to allow Pepsi bottlers to receive up-to-the-minute inventory information from the vending machines via a Web browser. Route drivers will know exactly how much product they will need for their daily delivery routes and will no longer carry excess inventory or make unnecessary trips to full machines. USWD developed the new card payment and telemetric technology, called ‘Synapse’. In addition to allowing credit card purchases and providing tracking data, the ‘Synapse’ technology also will enable Pepsi to eventually implement loyalty card, gift card, and smart cards. Last year Pepsi Cola expanded a system designed by Dixie-Narco, Debitek, CANTV, and Gemplus, which allows CANTV telephone customers in Venezuela to use their pre-paid telephone cards to purchase Pepsi Cola products from Pepsi Cola vending machines. The system, which originally piloted in February 1999 with 25 Pepsi Cola vending machines installed, has now expanded to over 500 vending machines throughout Caracas. (CF Library 3/29/00)



MetroCorp Bancshares Inc., a Texas community banking organization serving
primarily the
Asian and Hispanic markets, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary,
MetroBank, N.A., is introducing its new Matricula Checking account as a
to Mexican nationals in the Houston Metropolitan area.

Allen Brown, president of MetroCorp and chief executive officer of MetroBank,
said, “We are delighted to introduce Matricula Checking — a new and
product for the Hispanic community. Since we were first approached by the
Mexican Consulate several months ago, we have been working diligently together
to make this product available. It directly addresses a significant social
issue among local Hispanics. Mexican nationals in our area can now take a
step toward financial freedom — they will have immediate safety and security
of their money, and cost-effective, flexible access to their funds. We are
excited to be the first bank to make this possible in the Houston area.”

MetroBank’s Matricula Checking provides significant benefits by:

— providing a safe, secure place to keep money, with easy access to funds. It
eliminates most reasons for having to personally carry large sums of cash, or
hide it in an unsecured location.

— making basic financial transactions easier and more cost-effective.

— allowing the account holder the opportunity to accumulate a sound credit

— bringing the account holder more directly into the process of this
financial system.

With the account, a holder can:

— write checks and execute transactions cost-effectively,
including wire transfers.

— have ATM access, and they could designate someone in Mexico to
have limited ATM access to their account.

— access the account online, as well as through the bank’s
multi-lingual Telebanking phone line.

In order to open a Matricula Checking account, a person must be a Mexican
national and hold a valid Matricula ID card issued by the Office of the
Consular General of Mexico for the Houston metropolitan area. It is located
near downtown Houston and serves the surrounding 30-county area of southeast
Texas. Applicants should visit MetroBank’s East branch, at 6330 Capital (and
Harrisburg), where a Spanish-speaking representative will assist them. They
must bring their Matricula Consular ID card, money for the initial deposit and
complete address information.

This checking account and service is made possible by the Matricula ID card,
which is issued by the Mexican government for use by its citizens living
abroad. Its most critical feature is the secure and positive identification
that it provides. The Mexican Consulate issues the card under the authority of
the Mexican government.

Don Wang, chairman of MetroCorp, added, “It is our sincere hope that this new
account will offer Mexican nationals in our area a greater opportunity to
participate directly in our financial system. These are things most of us
living here take for granted every day. It’s actually not the product itself,
but what it can provide — safety and security of funds, easy access to money,
and the ability to easily transfer funds.”
MetroCorp Bancshares Inc., with $730 million in assets, provides a full range
of commercial and consumer banking services through its wholly owned
subsidiary, MetroBank, N.A. The company has 14 full-service banking locations
in the greater Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas. For more information,
visit the company’s Web site at


Holiday Spending

As of mid-morning, American consumers have racked up $109 billion in credit card charges since the Thanksgiving holiday according to’s home page holiday activity tracker. About $70 billion of these charges are holiday-related. According to a survey released yesterday by the American Bankers Association, many consumers are sticking to their holiday budgets this season. The survey shows that 42% of consumers are just about on target with their holiday budgets. Thirteen percent reported being under budget, while 11% reported being over budget. Thirty-two percent made no holiday budget. The ABA survey also shows that 76% of consumers plan to simply save more money and 68% intend to pay down their debt.

**Holiday Credit Card Activity**



QI Systems, Inc. announced that it has been retained by a major San
Francisco-based system
integrator and consulting company to develop and incorporate their SmarTe
Campus Solution into QI’s Unattended Point Of Sale payment terminals
two large college campuses in Northern California, with a total student
body of
approximately 50,000.

In the first phase of the project, QI is installing its UPOS payment terminals
for soda vending machines, copiers and value reload stations. QI anticipates
beginning the second phase of the project during the Spring of 2002, which
include the installation of UPOS payment terminals for snack vending machines,
network printing and pay and display parking. In addition, the system
integrator and consulting firm expects to expand their installation of similar
systems into six additional colleges in California by the end of 2002.
Mesbah Taherzadeh, President and CEO of QI Systems, Inc., stated, “Our new
strategic relationship with this leading consulting company opens the door for
even greater growth in the huge college campus market. We are optimistic in
quickly gaining momentum in this target market and the overall UPOS market,
which has an estimated 35% annual growth rate, because of the advantageous
features of our industry standard-setting products. Our smart card readers can
read different types of cards and also have an unprecedented upgrade
compared with what is commonly available in the market today.”

QI Systems, Inc.
( designs hardware
and software for the rapidly expanding cash card industry. It is a leader in
supplying solutions for smart card vending with products in use in Canada, the
U.S., Venezuela, Hong Kong, the UK, and Norway. QI’s SmartVend technology
enables debit card purchases by consumers from a wide range of vending
types. The SmartVend system is currently being used in conjunction with many
card schemes, including VisaCash, Mondex (Multos), CANTV (Venezuelan phone
card), Telus SmartONE card and others. Due to the modular structure of
SmartVend, multiple card schemes can be run in parallel in the same unit with
new schemes added at a later date. QI’s SmartVend systems have been installed
in Coca-Cola and Pepsi vending machines, coffee, snack and sandwich machines,
laundromat machines, copiers, newspaper vending boxes for such publications as
USAToday and in parking machines.


Delinquency Soars

More confirmation that fourth quarter delinquency is headed higher came from the American Bankers Association’s 3Q/01 ‘Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin’. Based on total dollars outstanding, third quarter credit card delinquencies were 4.45%, about 8% higher than the second quarter and more than 13% above the year ago level. Among credit card-backed securities, delinquencies averaged 5.3% in October, with nearly three-quarters of such securities reporting an increase in 30-plus day delinquencies, according to CardData ( Based on the number of credit card accounts, the ABA found that 3.77% were overdue during the third quarter, a slight decline from the previous quarter, but remaining at the highest level tabulated since 1980. The ABA says the modest decline in the number of past-due accounts during 3Q may be related to the steep decline in gas prices, the income tax rebate, and high levels of mortgage refinancing. However the ABA cautioned that continued layoffs and the economic fallout from 9-11 may significantly impact the fourth quarter performance by consumers. (CF Library 12/13/01)

(based on total dollars outstanding)

2000: 3.93%
1999: 4.25% 1995: 4.21% 1991: 4.54% 1987: 3.72% 1983: 2.75%
1998: 4.63% 1994: 2.90% 1990: 4.01% 1986: 4.90% 1982: 3.92%
1997: 5.31% 1993: 3.83% 1989: 3.45% 1985: 3.15% 1981: 2.37%
1996: 5.03% 1992: 4.27% 1988: 3.40% 1984: 3.30% 1980: 3.40%

Source: American Bankers Association Delinquency Bulletin



Universal Payment Processing, a
vertically integrated electronic transaction processor, along with Soft Tracks
Enterprises, a software technology provider, and CGI – an information
technology services firm – announced the commercial availability of
Skypay, a wireless payment acceptance software and internet reporting
solution for the U.S. marketplace.

CGI has licensed and will host the Skypay Transaction Gateway Server from Soft
Tracks, and Universal will offer Skypay services to its merchant customer

Initially, Skypay will be available on Hypercom Corporation’s ICE(TM) 4000
handheld touch screen-based card payment terminal, providing merchants with
value-added functions such as an electronic cash register to capture merchant
sales information and enterprise reporting that streamlines merchant back-end
operations. Subsequent offerings will be available on multiple devices
including multi-application terminals, web-enabled cellular phones and
Digital Assistants (PDAs).

Through CGI and Universal, Soft Tracks’ Skypay payment acceptance solution
provides the end-user with a reliable and efficient means for conducting
payment transactions coupled with the added convenience of mobility. Benefits
range from consolidating credit, debit, cash and check transactions along with
sales information such as invoice numbers, tips, and taxes to provide
comprehensive reporting functionality, enabling analysis and smooth
with merchant’s back-end operations.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to expand Skypay to the U.S.;
particularly as an enabler in the development of solutions for Universal’s
mobile point-of-sale and multi-application environments,” said Ms. Juliana
Cafik, President and CEO of Soft Tracks.

Skypay’s open architecture is suitable for use with existing application
suites, and can be ported to devices running applications such as those
required in dispatching and field sales. Third party development for
communication to the Skypay architecture is facilitated though the use of
interface kits. Ultimately connecting to the Skypay architecture will provide
Universal’s customers with the ability to conduct payment acceptance
transactions on any wireless device.

“Skypay allows us to provide our customers with a wider range of service
offerings,” said Fred Joachim, Senior Vice President of Sales from Universal.
The time saving advantages that consolidated back-end reporting and electronic
cash register capabilities bring to our customers provides our merchant
customers as well as Universal with an increased level of differentiation.
“The many connection options available for interfacing with Skypay also
provides us with access to markets previously untapped,” added Mr. Joachim.

About Universal Payment Processing

Universal Payment Processing – a vertically-integrated transaction processor –
is a part of Universal Companies (USB), which was acquired by Fifth Third
Bancorp (Nasdaq) on October 31, 2001. Universal provides transaction
authorization, data capture, settlement and funds transfer services to over
55,000 small and medium-sized businesses nationwide. Universal offers credit
and debit card processing, electronic check processing, prepaid phone
electronic gift cards, and e-commerce solutions. Visit Universal online at

About Soft Tracks

Soft Tracks Enterprises is a software company that is focused on providing
enabling software to the payment industry that will allow secure and trusted
payment between a merchant and consumer using any form of tender, via any
communications device. Soft Tracks currently provides the transaction industry
with Skypay(TM), a software service and network infrastructure that enforces
financial security and offers back-end reporting for wireless transaction and
multi-application devices. Website address is, and the Company is
located at #1258 – 13351 Commerce Parkway, Richmond, B.C. V6V 2X7

About CGI

Founded in 1976, CGI is the fourth largest independent information technology
services firm in North America, based on its headcount of more than 13,000
professionals. CGI’s annualized revenue run-rate totals US$1.3 billion
billion). CGI’s order backlog currently totals US$6.0 billion (CDN$9.3
billion). CGI provides end-to-end IT services and business solutions to more
than 3,000 clients in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France,
India, Japan, and Australia from more than 60 offices in more than 20
countries. CGI’s shares are listed on the NYSE and the TSE. They are included
in the TSE 100 Composite Index as well as the S&P/TSE Canadian Information
Technology and Canadian MidCap Indices. Website:

About Hypercom

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE) is the leading global provider of electronic
payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants
and acquirers, and yield increased profitability for its customers. Hypercom’s
products include secure web-enabled transaction terminals that work seamlessly
with its networking equipment and software applications for e-commerce,
m-commerce, smart cards and traditional payment applications. The company’s
widely-accepted ePOS-infocommerce(TM) (epic) framework of consumer-activated,
EMV-certified, touch-screen ICE (Interactive Consumer Environment) terminals
enable acquirers and merchants to decrease costs, increase revenues and
customer retention. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom is
independently acknowledged as the leading provider of point-of-sale card
payment terminals worldwide. Demand for Hypercom’s terminals surpassed one
million units last year alone. Hypercom today maintains an installed base of
more than 5 million terminals in over 100 countries which conduct over 10
billion transactions annually. Hypercom’s Internet address is


Providian Rating Cut

Fitch has lowered the senior rating of Providian Financial Corp to `B+’ from `BB-‘ and trust preferred rating to `CCC+’ from `B’.

The ratings for Providian National Bank remain unchanged. The ratings for both entities have been placed on Rating Watch Negative. A complete list of affected ratings is detailed below. Rating Watch Negative denotes Fitch’s view that ratings may be maintained at current levels or lowered upon further review.

Fitch’s downgrade of the holding company ratings reflects that unsecured creditors have less asset protection as liquidity at the holding company has diminished greater than anticipated. Fitch does recognize that near-term obligations of Providian will likely be met, however, longer term prospects will depend on the financial strength of the overall enterprise. There is approximately $851 million of senior debt issued out of the holding company, through the issuance of two convertible note issues.

The Rating Watch designation signifies Fitch’s concern surrounding the completion of certain restructuring objectives, namely asset sales, to improve the company’s financial profile. Providian continues its efforts to sell international operations in the U.K. and Argentina and is working to structure a possible sale of approximately $3 billion of `High Risk’ receivables and while the sale of the High Risk portfolio would likely limit future exposure to this portfolio, Fitch believes that a sale of these receivables would require a significant discount and result in a sizable loss for the company.

The Rating Watch also reflects the continued challenges facing the company’s liquidity profile as access to its traditional funding sources remains constrained. Fitch would expect that resolution of the Rating Watch would follow the progress of certain strategic objectives expected to be completed during the first quarter 2002. Failure to implement the necessary restructuring initiatives could further impair the ratings of Providian and PNB. Ratings lowered and placed on Rating Watch Negative: Providian Financial Corp. — Senior debt to `B+’ from `BB-‘; — Subordinated debt to `B-‘ from `B’; — Individual to `D/E’ from `D’ . Providian Capital I — Trust preferred to `CCC+’ from `B’. Ratings placed on Rating Watch Negative Providian Financial Corp. — Short-term `B’. Providian National Bank — Long-term deposits `BB’; — Short-term deposits `B’; — Senior debt `BB-‘; — Subordinated debt `B’; — Individual `D’.


BOFA ATM Contract

Diebold has signed a service outsourcing agreement with Bank of America for ATM maintenance service. The seven-year contract is valued at $71 million per year and will cover nearly 10,000 ATMs nationwide. Diebold says the new agreement represents incremental revenue of approximately $48 million annually as some equipment was covered under previous service contracts valued at approximately $23 million annually. Aside from traditional first- and second-line ATM service, Diebold will provide BofA with maintenance for their ![][1] central site processing equipment, physical security and office equipment, excluding PCs, alarms and branch automation. Approximately 1,000 associates in Bank of America’s service organization will be integrated into Diebold’s service operation as a result of this outsourcing agreement.

[1]: /graphic/bankofamerica/bankofamerica.gif


PayStar Quits Pay Phones

PayStar Corporation, the nation’s leader in providing Prepaid and Wireless Banking Services, Cashless ATM devices, Prepaid Telecom Services and content based Internet Kiosks announces that it has completed the assignment of operational responsibility for nearly 2000 pay telephones to Tri-Tech Communications, LLC. Tri-Tech will now assume full management responsibility for this base of payphones located predominantly in California. A transfer of the remaining managed phones is scheduled to occur before year’s end.

“Our payphone division has experienced significant negative cash flows due to the diminishing revenues of our locations during the past year. Since Tri-Tech is an experienced and premier Service provider with existing routes and a large base of payphones in the same geographical areas as the phones we were servicing, they will be able to achieve more efficiencies by blending these locations into their existing routes,” stated Fred Rackers, Sr. Vice President, PayStar Communications, Inc.

“PayStar’s strategic focus has shifted from the Legacy payphone business to the next-gen wireless, kiosk and prepaid services, such as our recently announced GlobalCash Prepaid MasterCard,” commented William D. Yotty, Chairman and CEO of PayStar. “We have completed several mergers and acquisitions within the internet kiosk industry this past year and we anticipate our future growth will continue in the kiosk and financial services markets.”

About PayStar

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


Lynk Inks NCR

NCR Corporation and Lynk Systems, Inc., announced a sales referral agreement naming Lynk, a leading provider of electronic payment processing services, an NCR Solution Provider.

![][1] Lynk and NCR will offer Lynk’s Integra point-of-sale payment processing system to their mutual customers as a fully integrated solution with NCR’s ScanMaster POS platform — a suite of applications for managing supermarket store operations.

Credit, debit and electronic benefits transfer payments are handled quickly and efficiently with Integra and ScanMaster. After a shopper selects a payment method, the transaction is routed to Lynk for processing, then back to the POS system where customer and cashier await approval.

Bresette’s IGA Marketplace, Kansas City, Mo., was a pilot site for the integrated solution.

“Previously, our electronic payments system was separate from the POS system,” said Bresette’s owner, Paul Bresette, Jr. “Now, these transactions are an easy one-step process, while end-of-day balancing has become simpler and more efficient. Integra does not require a separate local area network (LAN), which reduces the complexity of the system and saves money on installation and troubleshooting. This will significantly reduce our total cost of ownership.”

Kansas City-based Cash Register Sales Co. (CRS), an NCR reseller, is the POS supplier for Bresette’s. “The combination of Lynk services with NCR ScanMaster offers an outstanding value proposition for supermarkets,” said Russ Land of CRS. “Implementation at Bresette’s went smoothly. We’re pleased with the responsiveness and level of support provided by Lynk, and Integra interfaces seamlessly with ScanMaster.”

About Lynk

Lynk is a proven leader in electronic payment, cash dispensing and e-commerce services. The company processes transactions initiated by credit and debit cards, checks, and other access cards from merchant point-of-sale terminals, ATMs and web sites. Lynk also provides related services such as the issuance of stored value cards that facilitate electronic funds distribution.

Lynk controls the entire processing sequence, including sales, merchant payment equipment, design and hosting of Internet store fronts, transaction authorization, capture, settlement and customer service. This “in-sourced” model facilitates a truly integrated single-source service that gives Lynk customers one-call support for all their processing needs. Lynk’s proprietary technology and comprehensive network connectivity offer customers of all sizes unsurpassed processing performance.

Founded in 1991, Lynk has received Visa’s Service Quality Performance Award, and has earned recognition as one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc. magazine and Deloitte & Touche. For more information, please visit Lynk’s web site at [][2].

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in providing Relationship Technology(TM) solutions to customers worldwide. NCR’s Relationship Technology solutions include the Teradata(R) database and analytical applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and demand chain management, store automation systems and automated teller machines (ATMs). The company’s business solutions are built on the foundation of its long- established industry knowledge and consulting expertise, value-adding software, global customer support services, a complete line of consumable and media products, and leading edge hardware technology. NCR employs 32,900 in more than 100 countries, and is a component stock of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. More information about NCR and its solutions may be found at [][3].

[1]: /graphic/lynk/lynk.gif