USA-Forte Smart Card

SSP Solutions Inc. and Atmel Corp. announced availability of USA (Universal Secure Access)-Forte, the industry’s fastest and most powerful smart card solution to date. As a 32-bit cryptographically enabled smart card, USA-Forte is a robust, multi-function, secure token specifically engineered to provide expanded storage and accelerated processing of complex cryptographic functions. Its innovative full-featured operating system, designed and developed by SSP Solutions, ensures that all sensitive information and data requiring protection and authentication can be quickly processed directly on the card without exposing any cryptographic tasks to the user’s PC, eliminating security compromises such as spoofing, Trojan horses or sniffers which have surfaced in recent attacks.

Atmel designs, manufactures and markets advanced logic semiconductors and SSP Solutions provides solutions and services that secure access control, provide strong authentication and real-time movement of financial transactions and other valued digital content.

The two firms, along with the SSP-Litronic division, have developed USA-Forte with guidance from the National Security Agency (NSA), and it is the only smart card designed and manufactured in the United States.

USA-Forte is powered by a high performance integrated circuit (IC) known by its Atmel designation AT91SC321RC, the only chip of its kind manufactured in the United States. This circuit is the only 32-bit ARM core-based chip capable of streaming encryption bandwidths up to 2Mbytes per second in smart card applications.

It uses an on-chip DES (data encryption standard) accelerator and a high-speed USB I/O port to support increased storage and fast on-card cryptographic processing.

“USA-Forte is an important security breakthrough — significantly advancing the capabilities of smart cards and the applications they enable,” said Richard Depew, president and chief operating officer, SSP Solutions. “As business and government face increased requirements for both physical and electronic security — as well as the need for adaptable solutions that can evolve with their changing needs — USA-Forte offers a powerful, flexible solution that can simultaneously support multiple security, business and consumer applications.”

Based on public key infrastructure (PKI) technology, USA-Forte is a “system on a chip,” offering high assurance on-card key generation and supporting both government and commercial encryption and signing algorithms. With 96K ROM and 64K EEPROM, USA-Forte delivers better performance in a smart card form factor than USB (universal serial bus) Crypto Tokens, and offers all the capabilities typically found on a high-end cryptographic PCMCIA card at a fraction of the cost. USA-Forte is also designed to meet FIPS 140-1, Level 3 validation — one of the highest forms of government security validation. “By working together, we have not only developed a powerful chip capable of supporting an extensive range of applications such as USB tokens, set-top boxes and point-of-sale terminals, we have also provided a powerful smart card solution that enables users to secure information in ways never before possible,” said Chris Baumann, director of BiCMOS and secure products, Atmel. USA-Forte provides an unprecedented level of on-card processing power for multiple applications, algorithms and protocols, and supports multiple public key algorithms for key exchange and digital signatures. USA-Forte allows for multiple certificate storage, and also supports the storage of application-specific data for industries that require a multi-function security token.

USA-Forte also incorporates Protected PIN Path (PPP), patented technology from SSP Solutions, that isolates PINs and biometric identification such as fingerprint, facial or subcutaneous palm recognition data, from networks, servers, PCs or other computing environments when being accessed to authenticate identity.

All matching of PINs and biometrics takes place directly on the card and never enters the hostile territory of the PC — promising stringent security for broad-ranging security applications such as employee verification, funds transfer, and granting of physical and electronic access. Also using patented technology from SSP Solutions, USA-Forte’s high performance on-card interface recognizes both ISO (International Standards Organization) 7816 and USB standards, and automatically selects one or both modes to process smart card data. The higher USB speed — about ten times faster than the maximum ISO throughput — is recognized through connections unused by ISO 7816. USA-Forte and the AT91SC321RC chip will begin shipping in first quarter 2002.

About Atmel

Founded in 1984, Atmel has headquarters in San Jose, Calif., with manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe. Atmel designs, manufactures and markets worldwide, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and RF semiconductors.

Atmel is also a leading provider of system-level integration semiconductor solutions and secure ICs using CMOS, BiCMOS, bipolar SiGe, and high-voltage BCDMOS process technologies. Atmel product and financial information are available via e-mail to literature@atmel.com or by visiting Atmel’s Web site at [http://www.atmel.com][1].

About SSP Solutions

SSP Solutions develops and distributes the SSP(TM) Solution Suite of services, hardware, software, and embedded security products designed as the Trusted Symbol of the Digital Economy(TM). The company’s SSP-Litronic Division has a 30-year history of leading edge technology and data security solutions for government communications.

SSP products embed security and trust throughout the transaction chain protecting electronic communications and financial transactions, physical and electronic access, and the exchange of copyrighted digital content. By combining its own technology with a range of partners’ technologies and intellectual properties, SSP products represent the first, open embedded security architecture simultaneously supporting public key infrastructure (PKI) and multiple standards of digital rights management.

SSP’s custom-made enterprise security solutions address digital rights management, financial services, government, entertainment, health care, and education — and form the heart of a ten-year alliance with Electronic Data Systems (NYSE:EDS), the nation’s largest systems integrator and a global leader in information assurance.

For additional company information, visit or call 949/851-1085.

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

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CREDIT INFLUX

European and U.S. financial
institutions hoping to unlock the potential for U.S.-style revolving credit
cards in Western Europe will continue to face significant cultural,
legislative and technological challenges. New research from TowerGroup’s
Consumer Credit service finds that though Western Europe represents a
consumer
credit market potentially one-third larger than the U.S., issues such as a
traditional reliance on debit products and the predominance of
country-by-country card processing networks remain barriers to sweeping
change
in both European payments habits and infrastructure.

The region discussed as Western Europe in TowerGroup’s new research
comprises the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany,
Scandinavia, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Highlights of TowerGroup’s
findings include:

— Western Europeans continue to favor debit cards, specifically the
“deferred debit” type of card which allows issuers to deduct purchases
made on a 30-day cycle directly from a cardholder’s pre-established
account. 73% of all cards in the European Union (not including the UK)
are debit cards, versus only 27% that are revolving credit cards.
“True” credit cards in the U.S. sense-a plastic-based revolving line of
credit on a 36-month cycle-remain essentially a “niche product” in
Europe. The UK represents a “mid-point” between the U.S. and Western
Europe-57% of UK cards are debit cards versus 43% that are credit
cards.

— Culturally, Western Europe has tended to be a “savings-oriented”
society, in contrast to what observers have termed the U.S.’s
“borrower” mentality. This has resulted in slower adoption of
revolving credit products for payments. In addition, bank secrecy
legislation has made it difficult for financial institutions to execute
the kind of direct-mail marketing campaigns that have driven credit
card growth in the U.S., because those laws impede comprehensive
statistical account scoring.

— Profitability may become a driving force for change. Western Europe’s
total combined dollar volume for debit and U.S.-style credit will be
approximately US$795 billion in 2001, versus U.S. dollar volume for
credit alone of US$1.35 trillion. And though Western Europeans carry
almost half the number of total cards as U.S. consumers, European
banks’ IT expenditures for card processing will be 88% as much as U.S.
processing costs for the same period.

— The lack of common technical standards remains a central challenge.
Country-by-country credit card processing and proprietary national
systems predominate in Western Europe. This has led to consistently
higher processing costs for European financial institutions, on top of
less income derived from a low-margin, debit-heavy mix of products.
Yet some progress on the technical front is now evident. First Data
Europe has begun card processing for three of the largest German banks,
just as one of the largest German issuers, DeutscheBank, is gearing up
to process cards for other banks using a U.S.-sourced technology
platform, CAMSII from CSC.

“For years, observers have seen evidence of a new climate in European
consumer lending in the limited but real success some U.S. issuers of plastic
credit have had in the UK,” said Theodore Iacobuzio, a senior analyst in
TowerGroup’s Consumer Credit practice. “Yet despite the swift progress the
region is making toward economic and fiscal integration, it’s clear that the
current payments infrastructure and ingrained preferences of European
consumers for debit-based products will not be transformed overnight.”
Iacobuzio noted that cultural, technical and legislative barriers will
likely allow for only a slow, incremental evolution toward more credit card
offerings. “Proprietary processing networks remain a significant issue.
Until the standards issue is resolved-most likely under the pressure of a
central banking authority-Europeans will continue to pay more for less. By
addressing technical standards relative to card processing and bringing more
third-party, cross-country processors on the scene, European banks could
leverage economies of scale that would reduce overall costs. And as the
profitability pressures long faced by American banks continue to increase for
Western European financial institutions, TowerGroup expects to see more of
these institutions looking more seriously at cards as a instrument for
lending
as well as payment,” he said.

Iacobuzio, author of this TowerGroup Research Note titled “Payment Card
Processing in Western Europe,” is available for interviews.
About TowerGroup: TowerGroup is the leading provider of research,
advisory and consulting services to the global financial services industry,
providing thought leadership and advice focused on the intersection of IT and
business processes. Our range of services covers each sector of the industry,
including banking, securities, capital markets, investment management, and
insurance. Helping our clients gain a deeper understanding of the complex and
ever-changing environment of financial services, we provide insight into
information technology, products, vendors, markets, investment trends and
issues. Headquartered near Boston, Massachusetts, and with offices in New
York, Tampa and London, TowerGroup serves a global client base, which
includes
some of the world’s largest financial services, technology and consulting
firms. For more information, visit us at
http://www.towergroup.com.

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BioLink Authentication

BioLink Technologies International, a leading developer of biometric solutions, announces the release of BioLink Authentication Center 4.0. Authentication Center 4.0 includes: Windows® Logon for Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4, and 2000; biometrically enabled Secure Screen Saver; and Password Vault, a biometric password solution and scripting utility. Password Vault provides convenient one-touch access to password-protected applications, networks, and web sites through use of a fingerprint template. Templates and scripts are stored either on the local computer or on BioLink’s Authenteon server companion product. BioLink’s Authentication Center 4.0, with its combination of Windows Logon, Secure Screen Saver, and Password Vault, represents a major breakthrough in value and convenience for security conscious home and small business users, as well as enterprise environments.

BioLink Authentication Center 4.0 is a biometrically enabled client workstation security solution that provides secure desktop access and NT Domain, Active Directory and Novell NetWare logon support. The system reduces password-reset support costs by over 90%, significantly reducing common password related help desk calls, while increasing network security.

BioLink Authentication Center 4.0 is now shipping with the BioLink U-Match Mouse and MatchBook sensor products, each with built-in optical scanners. Fingerprint images are converted into templates that are then stored for future use. These templates cannot be reversed into a fingerprint image, eliminating any threat to personal privacy.

System Requirements: 200MHz Pentium class CPU or better, 32 MB of Random Access Memory minimum (64MB recommended), CD-ROM drive for installation, at least 10 MB of free disk space on the hard drive, and U-Match Mouse. It works with Microsoft’s Windows 95 OSR 2.5, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT 4 sp4 or higher, and Windows 2000.

About BioLink Technologies International, Inc.

BioLink, a leading security technology provider, develops, manufactures, and markets, advanced fingerprint biometric products. Our solutions form the core of biometric user authentication systems for computer network resources, eCommerce platforms, and physical access solutions. BioLink offers a comprehensive suite of products using proprietary fingerprint scanning, image processing, and one-to-many identification algorithm technology that address many of today’s security challenges in a significantly more robust and cost effective manner than existing solutions.

BioLink’s solutions are being implemented by corporate and government entities worldwide.

For additional information please visit BioLink’s web site at [www.biolinkusa.com][1].

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

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Dell Joins AmEx Perks

American Express announced that Dell has become its newest partner in Everyday Savings, an exclusive benefit of the American Express Corporate Card for Small Business that provides valuable savings from industry leaders.

In addition, two current Everyday Savings partners, ExxonMobil Corporation and the Hilton Family of Hotels, have enhanced their participation in the program by increasing the number of locations where American Express Small Business Corporate Cardmembers can save on gasoline purchases and hotel accommodations.

“American Express continually seeks to provide value for our small business customers by negotiating savings on their behalf, and Dell’s addition to the Everyday Savings program makes what has been the strongest small business savings program even stronger,” said Peggy Maher, vice president, American Express Small Business Services. “During these tough economic times, having access to this level of savings on everyday business expenses can have a meaningful impact on a small business.”

5% Savings at Dell

Beginning now, American Express Small Business Corporate Cardmembers will receive a five percent discount when they use the Card to purchase Dell products for their businesses. This discount is exclusive to Dell’s small business customers who are American Express Small Business Cardmembers, and it is applicable to everything Dell sells, from desktops and software to high-end storage devices. To take advantage of the discount, American Express Small Business Cardmembers can either shop at Dell’s dedicated Everyday Savings Web site or call 877-785-DELL and request their Everyday Savings. The Everyday Savings program discount may not be combined with other Dell offers or promotions. “Dell is doing everything it can to make it easy for small businesses to obtain the technology they need to help their companies succeed,” said Frank Muehleman, senior vice president of Dell’s small business division. “Dell is the leading provider of computers to small businesses, and because we listen to our customers’ requests, we expect that they will find it easier and less expensive to purchase Dell systems with the card they use the most.” Expanded Savings Opportunities from ExxonMobil and The Hilton Family of Hotels

ExxonMobil is extending its participation in the Everyday Savings program, enabling American Express Small Business Corporate Cardmembers to receive an automatic 2% discount on automotive gasoline purchases on the Card at all Exxon-branded service stations in the United States. These locations are in addition to the Mobil-branded stations that have been a part of Everyday Savings since 1995. This enhanced level of participation provides coverage in several new markets including San Francisco, Atlanta, Seattle, and Portland. “We are pleased to participate in this special savings for our customers,” said Don Taylor, Commercial Card Business Manager for ExxonMobil. “This program is an excellent opportunity for ExxonMobil to support small business owners throughout the country.” Small Business Corporate Cardmembers also have additional opportunities to save on travel expenses. The Hilton Family of Hotels is extending its participation in the Everyday Savings program, enabling American Express Small Business Cardmembers to now save 10% off the Best Available Rate at U.S. Hilton(R), Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hampton Inn & Suites(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R) and Homewood Suites(R) by Hilton hotels when booking the Everyday Savings rate. Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn hotels have participated in the Everyday Savings program since 1994, and with the addition of these quality brands, the Hilton Family of Hotels now offers more than 1,800 hotels across the country at which Small Business Corporate Cardmembers can access reduced rates.

Noted Tom Keltner, Executive Vice President, Hilton Hotels Corporation & President Brand Performance and Franchise Development Group for Hilton, “The number of our guests who own small businesses is growing as rapidly as our family of hotels. We’re delighted to expand our relationship with Everyday Savings, making it possible to provide small business customers with exceptional value at our hotels almost anywhere in the country.” “The Everyday Savings program can help Small Business Cardmembers save hundreds of dollars every year with brands they know and trust. No other small business credit card can match the value of our savings and the brand quality of our partners,” Maher added.

Dell, ExxonMobil and the Hilton Family of Hotels, along with FedEx(R), Hertz and Qwest(R), represent the leading companies that provide significant savings and benefits for American Express Small Business Corporate Cardmembers through the Everyday Savings program ([www.americanexpress.com/everydaysavings][1] ). Small businesses interested in learning more about the program or applying for an American Express Corporate Card for Small Business can call 1-800-SUCCESS or visit [www.americanexpress.com/smallbusiness][2].

American Express Small Business Services (SBS) is a division of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., solely dedicated to serving companies with fewer than 100 employees. Small Business Services provides a broad range of financial services, including charge and credit cards, equipment financing, term loans and lines of credit to approximately 2.5 million small businesses in the U.S. To obtain more information about SBS, visit the Small Business Exchange at [www.americanexpress.com/smallbusiness][3].

Terms and Conditions:

Dell: The discount is not combinable with other offers/promotions.

Exxon Mobil: Payment must be made with the American Express Corporate Card for Small Business. Account must be in good standing at the time of purchase to receive savings. Valid at participating Exxon(R)and Mobil(R)branded locations in the U.S. Valid on automotive gasoline only. Not valid on diesel fuel. Not valid for Corporate Cards issued outside the United States.

Hilton(R) Family of Hotels: Savings apply only to American Express Small Business Cardmembers. Discount represents ten percent off the Best Available Rate at participating Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels in the U.S. when booking the Everyday Savings Rate. This discount is only valid off the Best Available Rate and may not be applied to other discounted rates at participating hotels. Other restrictions may apply. The Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels name and logo are trademarks owned by Hilton Hospitality, Inc. (c)2001 Hilton Hospitality, Inc.

[1]: http://www.americanexpress.com/everydaysavings
[2]: http://www.americanexpress.com/smallbusiness
[3]: http://www.americanexpress.com/smallbusiness

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Checkwriting Declines

According to a new study commissioned by the Federal Reserve, checkwriting has declined from approximately 85% of non-cash payments over the past 20 years to about 60% today. American consumers and businesses make 78.6 billion retail payments annually, with 49.1 billion by check and 29.5 billion by electronic instruments, such as credit cards, debit cards ACH, EFT and EBT. The 49.1 billion checks written annually in the USA total $47.4 trillion in payments. The 29.5 billion retail electronic payments originated in United States have an annual value of $7.3 trillion. Annual credit card transactions represent about half of electronic payments (15 billion, worth $1.23 trillion). Debit cards remain the second most dominant electronic instrument with 8.3 billion transactions worth $348 billion. The ACH is the third most commonly used electronic payment method for retail transactions with 5.6 billion items worth $5.67 trillion. The Reserve Banks hired Boston-based strategy firm Dove Consulting to conduct the electronic payment study and Global Concepts and Westat to execute the two check studies.

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Discount Shopping

A survey released this morning by a top discount retailer predicts 80% of consumers plan to conduct the majority of their holiday shopping at a mass and/or discount retailer. Only 15% of respondents to the Kmart survey plan to shop at specialty stores and only 5% at department stores. Capital One, iTracks and Kmart teamed up for the survey which also found that even though a majority of consumers expressed concern about a limited budget, 60% plan to spend the same amount of money that they spent last year. Half of the holiday shoppers polled plan to spend less than $500 on gifts for a total of six to fifteen people. Americans are also feeling charitable this holiday season with more than half of respondents agreeing that they would be more inclined to shop in a store that offered a donation with purchase

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Triple-DES Migration Assistance

iS3 (i-s-cubed) and Thales e-Security signed a partnership agreement, launching a new joint services program designed to help financial institutions implement industry mandates. The new industry mandates focus on Triple DES migration and Unique Key per device management.

Credit card associations have now announced firm dates requiring that all financial institutions migrate to Triple DES.

Triple DES migration plans are unique in that new solutions must integrate with the bank’s legacy systems. Additional complexities arise because the migration process is lengthy–not all systems will migrate all at the same time, which means banks will be operating with two distinctive security systems simultaneously. The iS3/Thales e-Security partnership will offer financial customers with a full Triple DES migration plan that includes hardware recommendations and application integration with legacy systems. “Migrating from DES to Triple DES as well as implementing Unique Key per device is no longer simply a hardware issue,” said Cindy Provin, President of Thales e-Security. “The Migration to Triple DES requires a well thought out plan unique to each financial institution. We are very excited about our partnership with iS3. iS3’s strong understanding of transaction security combined with Thales e-Security’s Hardware Security Modules (HSM’s) provides customers with a complete Triple DES Migration solution.”

“iS3 is pleased to be a part of this partnership, said Joerg Ferchau, CEO of iS3.” “Our engineers and project managers have been directly involved in large and complex 3DES migration programs, giving us the unique knowledge and experience needed to provide customers with a complete migration plan and implementation.”

About iS3

Founded in San Jose, California by industry experts and senior product developers, iS3 develops and markets innovative secure transaction technologies, to deliver end-to-end solutions that are functionally and economically optimized for the financial, B2B and m-commerce markets. iS3 delivers superior security solutions complete with applications and professional services to fortify wireless, B2B, and financial infrastructures with robust, high performance system level security. More information about iS3 can be found on the web at [www.iscubed.com][1]

ABOUT THALES e-SECURITY

Thales e-Security (formerly Zaxus/Racal) provides e-business security solutions to several thousand customers worldwide. Over half of the world’s banks, together with the majority of the busiest exchanges, currently use Thales e-Security technology. Operating in three main markets covering e-security, card payment and network security, Thales e-Security addresses the business security needs of corporations and governments alike. For more than 20 years the company has been at the forefront of security and payment technology, co-operating and contributing to set the industry standards used for financial transactions and e-commerce globally. More information about Thales e-Security can be found on the web at [www.thales-esecurity.com][2]

[1]: http://www.iscubed.com/
[2]: http://www.thales-esecurity.com/

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VISA PREFERRED DEAL

Building upon a strong partnership that has existed between Thailand’s
national
tourism organization and the world’s leading card payment brand, Visa
International announced an exclusive global marketing partnership with
the Tourism Authority of Thailand designating Visa as the “Preferred
Card
of The Amazing Thailand Grand Sale”

The partnership will provide exclusive advertising, promotional and marketing
initiatives in connection with consumer payment services, and preferred brand
status in areas such as event sponsorship, online sales and reservations.
“As tourism faces a new set of global challenges, Thailand and the Asia
Pacific
region continue to represent a wide range of affordable and enriching vacation
and meeting options for travelers,” said Tom Shepard, executive vice
president,
Global Marketing Partnerships and Sponsorships, of Visa International. “This
agreement further reflects our growing commitment to the tourism industry in
Asia Pacific.”

“We are pleased to be working closely with Visa to promote the Thailand’s
travel appeal to Visa cardholders globally,” remarked Mr. Pradech
Phayakvichien, Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand. “By leveraging the
global reach of the Visa brand and the beauty and allure of Thailand, we are
confident that our partnership will heighten consumer exposure and ultimately
bolster tourism revenues and the broader Thai economy.”

The program also provides for partnership on the annual “Amazing Thailand
Grand
Sale”. It will allow for the mutual use of both organizations’ brand and
merchant signage, and cooperation with promotions in connection with key
Thailand destinations and attractions. At the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale”,
Visa and Visa Electron overseas cardholders will enjoy special offers and
discounts from participating merchants including department stores and retail
outlets, restaurants, jewellery stores, as well as recreational and travel
merchants. Visa will also set up 10 booths in the main shopping areas for
special gifts to be redeemed on the spot. There will also be a grand lucky
draw. Over 120 thousand outlets accept Visa in Thailand.

According to Mr. Somboon Krobteerawong, Visa International’s country manager
for Thailand and Indochina, tourists to Thailand spent US$ 1.43 billion on
their Visa cards in the past 12 months ending 30 Sept 2001, representing a
year
on year growth of 10.2%. Asia Pacific was the top source market with
cardholders spending US$539 million, up 10% from a year ago. Among them,
Japanese tourists spent the most at US$160 million, up 5 %, followed by Hong
Kong at US$85 million, Australia at US$ 66 million, Taiwan US$63 million and
Singapore US$61 million. Visitors from the European Union spent US$623 million
on their Visa cards registering a 10 % increase over the previous year.
“Our exclusive marketing partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand is
the culmination of ongoing synergy and joint efforts our organizations have
shared to date,” remarked Mr. Somboon, “This platform leverages the power of
Thailand, and the world’s number one consumer payment brand, to launch
effective marketing initiatives designed to promote Thailand to Visa
cardholders around the world.”

About Visa

Visa is the world’s leading payments brand and the largest payments system
worldwide. Visa-branded cards generate almost US$2 trillion in annual volume
and are accepted at over 22 million locations around the world. The Visa
organization plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and
technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their
cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the
creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce – the ability to conduct
commerce
anytime, anywhere, over any type of device. Visa can be found at
http://www.visa.com.

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Moneris Signs ISO

Moneris Solutions, Inc., a leading merchant processing technology company, is pleased to announce its continued expansion into the U.S. with a new ISO (Independent Sales Organization), Standard Payments, LLC. Standard Payments is based in the metropolitan Detroit area, maintains a business development and account support center in Dallas, and is focused on meeting the payments acceptance needs of small and middle market bankcard merchants across the United States.

“Our agreement with Standard Payments enables us to extend Moneris Solutions’ POS solution to a solid merchant customer base while enabling us to extend our footprint across the States,” said Swen Swenson, ISO Account Executive at Moneris Solutions, Inc.

Moneris Solutions’ Charge-It System® offers some of the best payment transaction processing solutions the industry has to offer. In conjunction with VeriFone, Hypercom, U.S. Wireless Data, and SurePay, to name just a few, Moneris Solutions enables businesses to accept a variety of payment methods, easily, quickly, securely, and at competitive prices. Moneris Solutions’ offering includes point-of-sale terminals, PC software, wireless and an eCommerce platform.

“Standard Payments is not another generalist selling merchant accounts,” said Trent R. Voigt, Chairman, Standard Payments, “but a specialist comprised of industry veterans conversant in systems integration, data networking, communications technologies, the Association’s Operating Regulations, and the growing array of related issues and concerns impacting the nation’s bankcard merchants.” Standard Payments’ President, David L. Tepoorten added, “We’re pleased to be associated with Moneris Solutions. We’ve selected a partner that shares our vision and is ideally positioned to support the delivery of our value proposition in today’s very competitive marketplace.”

About Standard Payments

Detroit-based Standard Payments, LLC is “Setting the Standard in Payments Delivery”® by providing card processing products and account support that enable its merchant clients to convert payment acceptance technologies into business solutions. Standard Payments is an industry specialist in merchant account acquisition and management, and deploys its recommended various payment options, payments strategies, and payment acceptance solutions and technologies for merchants nationwide. For more information, visit [www.StandardPayments.com][1]

About Moneris Solutions Inc.

Moneris Solutions is a leading North American technology company that was formed in December 2000 as a result of a joint investment between the Royal Bank of Canada Financial Group and Bank of Montreal. In less than a year, Moneris has over 300,000 North American customers; 18 ISO’s; a staff of 8700 employees; and offices in Chicago, Illinois; Toronto, Ontario; and Montreal, Quebec. For more information, visit [www.monerischargeit.com][2].

[1]: http://www.standardpayments.com/
[2]: http://www.monerischargeit.com/

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SMART AGE ID

The Tokyo-based Tobacco Institute of Japan announced this week it will launch
an age-recognition system by the end of 2008 that will use smart cards.
According to The Daily Yomiuri, trial tests are slated for April in
Yokaichiba,
Chiba Prefecture. Eventually, about 620,000 vending machines nationwide
will be
replaced with new ones equipped with the smart card system. One hundred and
sixty machines with the new system will be introduced in April
in Yokaichiba, and will be tested for a period of one year.

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Online Q4 Forecast

Online consumer spending will hit $10.7 billion in the fourth quarter, a 20.2% increase over last year. Compared to last year’s holiday season, 14.1 million more people will buy online this year between October 1st and December 31st. In 2000, online Q4 spending rose 71% over 1999. NYC-based eMarketer yesterday said that the deteriorating economy will negatively impact online sales and as a result e-commerce this year will be more closely aligned with general patterns of consumer spending. eMarketer projected that 58.7 million US residents will buy online, spending an average of $182.25

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LOYALTY DATABASE HOSTING

Ernex Marketing Technologies Inc. announced the general availability of
its new loyalty database hosting services.
The company also announced it recently completed the first full implementation
of the hosting service at Royal Bank of Canada where it is used for the bank’s
points-earning premium Visa credit card databases. The service provides the
bank with a complete, real-time, points management system. Ernex has been
providing Royal Bank and its stakeholders with highly flexible and powerful
tools to efficiently manage the administrative, help-desk, partner redemption,
and catalogue rewards management tasks involved with the bank’s five discrete
credit-card rewards programs. The real-time hosting service provides Royal
Bank’s operators and partners with timely and accurate cardholder data, a
flexible infrastructure for scalability and modifications, and significant
savings from administrative and operational efficiencies.

STRATEGY

Ernex’s loyalty database hosting service is designed to make it more flexible
and efficient for credit card rewards program operators to administer the
points-management cycle. The new offering from Ernex is a core component in
the
company’s strategy to provide innovative, real-time solutions to credit card
issuers and large membership organizations in North America.
The rigidity of many legacy systems restricts the ability of loyalty database
program operators to easily or cost-effectively make modifications in their
programs. With many legacy systems relying on batched-processed data, manual
administration, or departments operating in silos, current and accurate
information is usually difficult to obtain. These challenges can have a
negative impact on customer service and operations. To mitigate these
challenges, Ernex provides a suite of software and web interfaces, allowing
operators to communicate and perform transactions in real-time with a central
authoritative database.

An added dimension to an Ernex-hosted loyalty database is the opportunity for
loyalty program operators to add real-time marketing capabilities to their
card
programs with ERNEX Accelerator. This solution provides a point-of-sale
interface to the hosted database, allowing program operators to extend their
programs to merchant businesses for more points-earning opportunities for
cardholders, real-time sweepstakes, and other retention and loyalty
initiatives
directly at the point-of-sale. Royal Bank today utilizes Ernex’s loyalty
database hosting service in conjunction with ERNEX Accelerator – offering
cardholders more rewards and prizes at more than 160 participating
merchants in
Canada.

DETAILS AND HIGHLIGHTS

Ernex provides a suite of loyalty database management tools and services to
efficiently manage the following areas of a rewards program:

1. Help-desk customer service: a web browser interface that
allows customer service representatives to perform cardholder
lookups, adjust accounts, and more.

2. Redemption: a web browser interface that allows redemption
partners to redeem cardholder points for merchandise, travel
or other rewards in real-time.

3. Rewards-catalog management: online hosting, website design and
maintenance service for rewards catalogs.

4. Reward fulfillment processing and auditing: a system that
administers and monitors orders with reward fulfillment
partners, and manages the billing and reporting issues.

5. Database synchronization services: a system that synchronizes
third party cardholder databases with Ernex loyalty database,
and supports statement production processes.

6. Reporting: an online information sharing solution for
redemption partners and program operators to view operational
and business level reports.

For more information on Ernex’s Loyalty Database Hosting Service, visit
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tp://www.ernexinc.com/loyalty_programs/loyalty_database_hosting.html

ABOUT ERNEX MARKETING TECHNOLOGIES

Ernex Marketing Technologies is a provider of innovative real-time marketing
solutions for merchants, credit card and bankcard issuers, and large
membership
organizations. Its solutions include loyalty programs, stored-value gift card
programs, reward fulfillment services and loyalty database hosting services.
For more information, contact Ernex at 877-GO-ERNEX or visit
www.ernexinc.com.
Ernex is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.

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