AmEx Cut Back

American Express Company announced this morning its is eliminating approximately 5,500 to 6,500 jobs and taking a fourth quarter pre-tax restructuring charge of approximately $240 to $280 million. The staff reductions announced today are in addition to the reductions of 7,700 positions announced earlier this year. The total number of jobs eliminated — 13,200 to 14,200 — represents approximately 15% of the workforce as of the beginning of 2001. The staff reductions are taking place primarily in the travel businesses and reflect the sharp slowdown in that sector since September 11. Approximately half of the staff affected by these reductions have already been notified. The remaining notifications will take place during 2002. At Travel Related Services, billed business volumes were down 14% in September, 10% in October and approximately six percent in November. The declines reflect continued weakness within the corporate travel and entertainment category. Travel sales for October declined approximately 46% from year-ago levels. In November, travel sales were down approximately 38%. The company also said it expects earnings to come in on low side of analyst projections. Approximately half of the staff reductions announced today are taking place in the travel businesses. American Express’ shares were down to $32.75 in pre-market trading from Tuesday’s close of $34.26.


Mosaic CNP Solution

Mosaic Software has announced the general availability of Postilion Integrated Payments for eCommerce, a fast track solution to address the requirements of merchants and commerce service providers in the card-not-present market. Designed specifically to handle all the processing requirements for Internet eCommerce and Mail Order Telephone Order transactions, PIPE provides for real time authorization and secure transaction processing when the card and card holder are not physically present. Payments initiated by credit cards, debit cards or checks are supported.

Due to the greater opportunity for fraud, the card-not-present market has more stringent requirements for transaction processing than card present transactions. Because of these requirements, intended to protect all parties from fraud, Postilion PIPE implements security at the network level by providing secure channels for data transfer using Secure Socket Layers. In addition, at the EFT level, card authentication through the use of card verification values and address verification services is also provided.

“The Postilion Integrated Payments for eCommerce solution is the most scalable solution today in the MOTO credit card market, and can handle up to 720,000 transactions per hour. Merchants and CSP’s, both small and large, will be pleased with the competitive nature of our investment structure. In addition, our new solution is based on the highly reliable Microsoft Windows 2000 based Postilion platform so it is much easier to support and more flexible when adding additional payment processing capabilities, than existing products available on the market today” stated Kevin Pannebecker, Senior Vice President, e-Commerce Business Development, Mosaic Software.

An added benefit of the Postilion Integrated Payments for eCommerce solution is that it integrates fully with emerging technologies (including WAP-enabled mobile phones, the Internet and digital TV), providing a true multi-channel payment solution.

About Mosaic Software

Mosaic Software is a leading edge provider of electronic funds transfer (EFT) software for consumer-generated electronic transactions, and is the market leader for web-enabled ATM and prepay software solutions. The company is held by strategic partners GE Equity and Comparex Holdings, and Mosaic management. With offices in the USA, a European office in the UK, South Africa and Australia, Mosaic has a strong global presence. The company is firmly established in the financial services industry and its EFT solutions drive operations in a large number of multinational companies and industry leaders around the globe. Clients include financial institutions, retailers, Internet service providers, card issuers, telcos, data processing service providers and some of the foremost players in the emerging online industry, in the USA, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.

Mosaic’s family of products, named Postilion, is a comprehensive software solution designed to effectively handle the transaction delivery and authorization requirements of every aspect of the EFT arena. Worldwide, Postilion is used for ATM Processing/Monitoring, EFT Switching and Routing, Point-of-Sale (POS), Credit/Debit Card Processing, Internet/Call Center Payment Authorizations, Prepayment, Internet/Home Banking and Mobile Commerce applications. Operating as the first fully-fledged EFT switch running on Windows NT/Windows 2000, Postilion is live in more than 500 installations worldwide.

Mosaic Software clients include 7-Eleven (US), American Express (US), E*Trade Access (US), Retail Decisions (UK), Calypso (Canada), Columbus Data Systems (US), Transaction Network Services (UK), Woodforest National Bank (US), Sky Financial Group (US) Echo (US), Pick ‘n Pay (SA), ABSA Bank (SA), Saambou Bank (SA), NBS (SA), Vodacom (SA) and MTN (SA).

An overview of the company and product may be found at: [][1]



Barbeque Gift Card

Gift Check Solutions announced it has been selected by Spring Creek Barbeque, to provide the Texas-based restaurant chain known for its “down-home cook’n” with electronic gift card services.

Spring Creek Barbeque has 14 restaurants in the Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas area.

As part of the agreement, Gift Check Solutions’ Gift Card Solutions will manage the gift card fulfillment, processing, and security of the gift cards for Spring Creek Barbeque. The electronic gift cards are customized to meet the look and feel of the restaurant. The electronic gift cards may be purchased at any of the Spring Creek Barbeque restaurants.

“We decided to move to the electronic gift cards because they were more convenient, durable and easy to market to our customers,” said Greg Lozier, controller for Spring Creek Barbeque. “Gift Check Solutions provided a better price and rate on the transactions than any of their competitors, and it has a positive reputation in the restaurant industry.”

Gift Check Solutions’ Gift Card Solutions electronic gift card program utilizes magnetic swipe card technology, allowing all gift card transactions to be processed in real-time through a highly secure network. Gift Card Solutions are designed to utilize compatible location-established point-of-sale (POS) equipment or a Gift Check Solutions dedicated gift card terminal. “We are pleased to have Spring Creek Barbeque as a new client and hope to help them grow their business through our Gift Card Solutions,” said John Bechard, president of Gift Check Solutions.

About Spring Creek Barbeque

Spring Creek Barbeque has been serving “down-home cook’n” in Dallas and Fort Worth since 1980. The company now has 14 restaurants located throughout Texas.

About Gift Check Solutions

Based in Salt Lake City, Gift Check Solutions provides paper- and electronic-based gift products and services. The company manages the creation, processing, printing and fulfillment of gift certificates and gift cards. Electronic gift cards utilize magnetic swipe card technology, allowing gift card transactions to be processed real-time via a secure network. Gift Check Solutions also offers hosted e-commerce services for online gift certificate and ordering and customized point-of-purchase materials to drive gift certificate and gift card sales throughout the year. For more information, visit [][1] or call 888/739-9971.




Official Payments Corporation announced that 65 local government entities within the state of Texas have signed service agreements with the company.

These agreements will enable citizens to pay real estate tax obligations by credit card over the Internet by visiting [][1], or via telephone by calling 1-800-2PAY-TAX. With these additions, Official Payments now serves nearly 200 government clients within Texas. Concurrent signing of these 65 taxing districts throughout the state was made possible through an alliance between Official Payments and Assessments of the Southwest, an entity authorized to collect taxes on the districts’ behalf. The districts, which cover territories throughout the state including Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, and Harris Counties, annually collect more than $500 million in real estate taxes. All 65 payment systems are scheduled to go live this month, preceding the districts’ tax due dates in January 2002. American Express(R), Discover Card(R), MasterCard(R) and VISA(R) are the cards to be accepted by the programs.

“We are pleased to partner with Official Payments to offer these new services,” said Tommy Lee, Tax Collector, Assessments of the Southwest. “Our goals are to streamline the tax collection process for our districts, and make paying taxes as convenient as possible for our citizens. These Internet and telephone systems do just that,” Lee stated.

“Signing up local clients is critical to our success in Texas, as income taxes are not collected on the state level. Our partnerships with these 65 new clients give us enormous traction,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman & CEO of Official Payments. “We hope that residents of these districts will use our credit card payment services in January to make a real estate tax payment, and come back in April to pay their federal taxes,” Evans added.

Official Payments has similar agreements with the Internal Revenue Service, 20 state governments, the District of Columbia, and more than 1,000 local government entities in all 50 states to collect a variety of taxes, fees, and fines by credit card over the Internet and telephone.

Official Payments charges taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found on the Internet at [][2]. For example, a taxpayer who owed a Texas district $3,000 in real estate taxes and charged their taxes would find a total of $3,087 on their credit card statement: $3,000 for the tax bill and $87 for the convenience fee. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back or airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.

About Official Payments Corporation

Founded in 1996, Official Payments Corporation (Nasdaq: OPAY) is the leading provider of electronic payment options to more than 1,000 government entities in all 50 states. The company’s principal business is enabling consumers to pay their government taxes, fees, fines, and utility bills by credit card, via Internet and telephone. Official Payments has agreements to collect and process credit card payments with the Internal Revenue Service, 20 state governments, the District of Columbia, and over 1,000 county and municipal governments across the United States. In 2000, Official Payments collected and processed over $925 million in federal, state and local government payments. Thomas R. Evans, the former President & CEO of the Internet company GeoCities, became Chairman & CEO of Official Payments in the summer of 1999. Mr. Evans brought Official Payments public in November of 1999, raising $80 million in its IPO on the NASDAQ national market.




GSB Financial Services, Inc. announced the introduction of a private-label “pre-paid cash card” known as the “I-Card.”

The I-Card has been introduced to GSB by Digital World Financial, Inc. as Digital World’s first step in providing GSB with specialty financial services. The I-Card functions much like a prepaid phone card, except that it has the same utility as a charge or debit card, including full ATM capability. The target market for this card is segmented into consumers and merchants.

Targeted consumers would be:

— travelers not wanting to risk their debit cards in foreign/domestic transactions,

— consumers concerned about online shopping charge fraud or the recent security breaches of online retail sites,

— parents wanting to provide their children with a safe and controlled source of funds. Targeted Merchants would be:

— merchants seeking to issue a prepaid cash card (private-label) to consumers so as to lower credit card fraud and chargebacks, which have become rampant in some industries,

— merchants desiring to create increased brand awareness and consumer loyalty through comprehensive customer loyalty and incentive programs,

— merchants desiring to provide their customers with increased privacy and discretion with charges now appearing on their charge statements.

Steve Browning, CEO of GSB said, “I am especially excited about the I-Card product because it will enable many of our customers to increase their revenues without increased cost because of its ability to lower and virtually eliminate credit card fraud and chargebacks. This innovative solution to a very real market need will eliminate a significant roadblock to enhanced sales growth by our customers. The I-Card represents a very significant step forward in our plan to provide quality financial services to our customers, and strengthens our technology stream focused on risk mitigation and loss reduction.”

GSB Financial Services, Inc. develops proprietary technology solutions to exploit opportunities in the Financial Services Industry. Focusing on the continuing technology revolution in the newly developing e-Finance environment, GSB Financial is leading the way in the Financial Services Industry with innovative technologies.

Digital World Financial, Inc. provides 21st century electronic financial transaction software solutions to the forward thinking company and the financial services industry globally. Utilizing a best of breed approach Digital World Financial provides only state of the art software solutions to international banks and e-commerce companies. [][1]



ISO Theft

Humboldt Bancorp confirmed this morning that the principal of one of its ISOs, that contractually operates 138 ATMs in the New York and New Jersey area, is missing, along with $5 million in cash belonging to Humboldt. The bank says it noticed irregularities last week with this particular ISO. After numerous attempts to communicate with the principal, they contacted law enforcement authorities, and learned that he had been reported missing. Humboldt believes the circumstances that permitted the perpetration of this fraud are isolated to this single ISO. However they are currently reviewing all their loss prevention and detection policies. ATM funding represents about 4% of Humboldt’s total third quarter revenues. As a result, the bank will take an after-tax charge against earnings of approximately $3.1 million at the end of the current quarter. Humboldt established its ATM funding operation in 1997 and currently provides funding for 1,350 ATMs operated by 22 ISOs throughout the country.


Stockback MasterCard

Chase and Stockback Capital have teamed up to offer a new co-branded MasterCard that offers cash rebates, up to 11%, which are automatically swept into an investment account. Stockback was launched in June 2000 with $33 million and has since signed up more than 100 merchant-partners. The ‘Stockback MasterCard from Chase’ offers up to 10% back with participating merchants and at least 1% back on every purchase. Once a month, Stockback rewards are automatically placed in a mutual fund account managed by Merrill Lynch. After earning $10 in credits, a cardholder is eligible to invest that in the fund. Cardholders can also invest directly in the fund without earning store credits. Merchants pay Stockback a flat rate or percentage fee. Some of the major participating merchants include US Airways, Sunoco, Barnes & Noble, CVS Pharmacy, Galyan’s, Radio Shack, Linens & Things, and Jos A Bank. Stockback’s investors include RRE Ventures, TH Lee Putnam Internet Partners, NeoCarta Ventures, and Ernst & Young. The new card carries no annual fee and an introductory rate of 2.99% on purchases and cash advances. Afterwards, interest rates for ‘Platinum’ cardholders range from 9.99% to 12.99% depending on the balance and current relationship with Chase. APRs for ‘Standard’ cardholders is 13.99% for ‘Chase Banking’ customers and 14.99% for non-customers.


Souped-Up Drive-Up

Diebold has revamped its freestanding ‘1074’ drive-up ATM island to improve usability and operational efficiency along with an attractive contour fascia. The 12.1-inch sunlight viewable display and improved lighting offer enhanced visibility, while lead-through indicators assist users in completing their transactions more efficiently. The enhanced design also offers the latest ‘ix Series’ features and functions, like thermal receipt and statement printing, an ANSI keypad and a dual scan deposit module for check imaging.



TSYS is poised to
capture a greater share of the rapidly growing debit payments market with its
licensing of software from ACI Worldwide. Through this
offering, TSYS will provide its clients with the ability to switch and route
transactions through any PIN-based (on-line) debit network as well as a third-
party gateway into international ATM networks. It also allows TSYS to provide
its clients with brand-neutral support for any card product.

TSYS will begin implementing ACI’s software into its newly designed
Integrated Payments Platform, providing the ability to conduct domestic and
international PIN-based debit transactions, including on-line transaction
processing, switching, routing and ATM terminal driving. TSYS has processed
domestic, signature-based (off-line) debit transactions since the 1970s.

“ACI is the industry-leading software provider for debit networks
and by
incorporating their software with our Integrated Payments Platform, we will be
able to provide direct access to all major ATM networks,” said Debra Wohlrab,
group executive of TSYS Integrated Payments division. “TSYS will be the only
processor to offer the product with the proven architecture and flexible
option-driven structure of our Integrated Payments Platform.”

“TSYS has a tradition of leadership and innovation, and this new offering
reflects their commitment,” said Mark Vipond, president of ACI Worldwide. “As
debit card use grows, TSYS can count on ACI’s proven software to quickly and
reliably route on-line and off-line transactions-and meet the ‘always
available’ processing needs of their clients.”

ACI provides TSYS with an integrated processing infrastructure that
securely and reliably processes debit card transactions. The system can
address a wide range of needs for debit card processing, including multi-
currency and emerging security schemes, all on a platform that sets the
standard for reliable and scalable transaction processing.

About ACI Worldwide

Every second of every day, consumers are initiating electronic payment
transactions — getting cash at ATMs, using debit and credit cards to make
purchases in stores and on the Internet, banking by phone and PC, paying bills
online. Twenty billion times a year, ACI software is used to process these
transactions, powering the world’s online payment systems. ACI was founded in
1975 and pioneered the development of applications and networking software for
online transaction processing. Today more than 530 customers in 79 countries
use ACI-supplied software. Visit ACI Worldwide on the Internet at

About TSYS

brings integrity and innovation to the world of
electronic payments. TSYS serves as the integral link between buyers and
sellers in the rapidly evolving universe of electronic payments. With more
than 200 million accounts on file, TSYS makes it possible for millions of
consumers to use their credit, debit, stored value, commercial, smart and
retail cards anytime, anywhere through any medium or portal. TSYS and its
family of companies offer a full range of acquiring and issuing services from
accepting and settling electronic payments for goods and services, to credit
applications, bankruptcy and collections. Based in Columbus, Ga., TSYS
processes for 23 countries, in 14 currencies, in four languages and maintains
operations in Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the United Kingdom.


LA ISO Expansion

Single Source Financial Services Corporation, a financial services provider, announced that it has signed a binding and irrevocable 18-month option to purchase CardReady International Inc. from MBBRAMER, INC.

CardReady International Inc., a “third-party” credit card processor, currently provides merchant credit card processing services to small and mid-size businesses. As such, CardReady is responsible for the acquisition of merchant processing relationships on behalf of banking institutions. CardReady has doubled its processing volume since August 2001 when Single Source began placing its merchant clients with CardReady.

The acquisition of CardReady will allow Single Source Financial Services Corporation to gain significant market share in the credit card industry by combining the technological and processing capabilities of CardReady, with the marketing expertise and capabilities of Single Source Financial’s existing subsidiary, Single Source Electronic Transactions, Inc. CardReady International Inc. has several key relationships that allow it to provide its merchant customers with the highest quality of processing services.

CardReady is under contract with KeyCorp, one of the nation’s largest multi-financial services companies, to provide its subsidiary, KeyBank, with merchant acquisition services for Visa and MasterCard processing. Vital Processing Services(R), a leader in technology-based commerce enabling services (formed by Visa U.S.A., and by Total System Services, Inc. (NYSE:TSS)), is the exclusive provider of all processing related services for CardReady International Inc. Through its relationship with KeyBank, CardReady has the capacity to process in excess of $120,000,000 per month in credit card transactions, which according to company projections, would relate to significant annual revenues.

General Credit Forms (GCF), the largest manufacturer and distributor of POS and ATM related products, has contracted with CardReady to provide CardReady’s merchant customers with overnight delivery of GCF’s product line. Arnold F. Sock, Chief Executive Officer of Single Source Financial Services Corporation, commented: “Single Source currently places its merchant clients with CardReady. By signing the option for the purchase of CardReady, we have set up a future track for the company that will allow us to grow our customer base and to benefit from the resulting increase in revenue that we project. “Single Source already provides CardReady with its considerable marketing and sales abilities and CardReady offers Single Source its superior processing services. We have always given our customers superior services, now we have the opportunity to own the means by which those services are delivered. We have also effectively locked-in an acquisition price, which we believe will prove to be a significant discount from the true value of CardReady when we exercise the option.”

Jim Berland, President of CardReady International Inc., stated: “Currently CardReady’s assets include our advanced technology and our relationships with key vendors (KeyBank, Vital Processing Services(R) and GCF). These types of relationships are critical to the success of any company in the credit card processing service industry. We have focused on perfecting the service side of the business. Now, together with Single Source Financial Services Corporation, we will have our superior products made known to an exponentially greater marketplace. This should provide very strong results.”

Single Source Financial Services Corporation

Single Source Financial Services Corporation provides financial products and services to small and mid-sized businesses. The company’s initial business focus is the selling and leasing of credit card processing equipment, as well as the selling of third-party processing services, to “brick and mortar” and Web-based merchants. MBBRAMAR, INC. is owned and controlled by certain shareholders and directors of Single Source. The purchase price to be paid by Single Source for CardReady under the option will be determined by a formula based on an independent third-party valuation of CardReady and the value of Single Source common stock at the time of exercise of the option. For more information, visit [][1] or [][2].




First Atlantic Commerce, a leading e-commerce solution provider in Bermuda,
Cardservice International, a leading U.S.-based transaction processing and
payment solution provider, announced they have agreed to jointly offer
international payment solutions to U.S. and European businesses.
The new service, cGateWorld, is the first joint Internet payment offering of
Cardservice and First Atlantic Commerce.

First Atlantic Commerce and Cardservice International can provide merchants
expand into the global arena with international e-commerce solutions for
multicurrency pricing and split jurisdictional payment settlement. Global
multi-currency services allow customers and merchants to transact business in
their currency choice. In addition, split jurisdictional settlement enables
U.S. merchants to settle domestic credit transactions in the United States,
have payments with universally accepted cards, such as MasterCard and Visa,
settled to an international jurisdiction.

“As the needs of international merchants who sell goods and services online
have grown and become increasingly more complex, we have continually evolved
our e-commerce solutions with new capabilities,” said Andrea Wilson, chief
executive officer for First Atlantic Commerce. “We’ve observed that many of
Cardservice International’s merchants need global payment solutions for their
Web sites. Now we can bring to these merchants the benefits of leveraging
corporate tax advantages through payment settlement in the Caribbean and Latin
America region, including Bermuda.

According to John Burtzloff, Cardservice International’s vice president of
Sales, “At Cardservice International, we recognize the range and quality of
First Atlantic’s services and we also see the potential we have to satisfy our
international merchants’ needs by co-marketing our e-commerce services.

This is
good for both our organizations and for our merchants who will now be in a
position to enjoy the benefits of our combined services.”
First Atlantic Commerce specializes in developing customized multicurrency
payment solutions for e-commerce merchants. Located in Bermuda, First Atlantic
Commerce operates within the credit card associations for the Latin America,
Caribbean region, enabling merchants to access a wider range of regulations
payment options. The company works with reputable banks on behalf of merchants
and adheres to jurisdictional compliance requirements.

About First Atlantic Commerce Ltd.

First Atlantic Commerce, a Bermuda-based e-commerce provider since 1998,
specializes in consulting services to acquiring banks for Internet enablement,
and secure payment solutions for online merchants. Through custom software
systems, the company connects merchants to major international credit card
processors, as well as numerous globally recognized banks, ensuring fast and
secure transaction processing. cGate(R) and cGate(R) Secure were developed by
First Atlantic Commerce using the latest technology and highest levels of
encryption. First Atlantic Commerce provides universal payment solutions such
as multicurrency and multiple jurisdiction settlements to enable merchants to
access the global marketplace. For more information on First Atlantic
visit their Web site at or
e-mail or contact 441-296-5598.

About Cardservice International

Headquartered in Moorpark, California, Cardservice International provides a
wide range of noncash transaction processing options to local, regional and
national traditional and Internet businesses. With more than 125 million
transactions annually — from point-of-sale credit card processing to
e-commerce solutions — Cardservice International is recognized as a leader in
electronic commerce and payment services. Established in 1988, the company
processes every type of electronic payment method, including credit, debit,
electronic benefits transfer and electronic checks. In addition, Cardservice
offers popular point-of-sale hardware and software for brick-and-mortar and
Internet payment acceptance. To prevent and monitor fraudulent activities,
Cardservice International has one of the largest chargeback and loss
departments in the industry. Cardservice supports its merchants with customer
service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 140 languages and
First Data Corp., a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services,
holds a 50% equity position with Cardservice. For more information about
Cardservice International visit


MSN Money Pro

Microsoft has signed a strategic agreement with Corillian to provide the Microsoft Web-based subscription service, currently code-named ‘MSN Money Professional’, to Corillian for integration and distribution to the U.S. banking industry. As the first .NET service for the financial services industry, ‘MSN Money Professional’ will enable financial advisers already operating on Corillian’s ‘Voyager’ platform to provide clients with personal finance Web sites, portfolio updates, relevant reports, and real-time news and quotes. The new Microsoft service is scheduled to launch early next year 2002. Microsoft unveiled ‘MSN Money Professional’ last month at ‘COMDEX Fall 2001’, at which time Advent Software also announced plans to make the service available to its more than 6,500 clients, which range from small and regional investment firms to large Wall Street investment banks.