Wal-Mart Banks

TD Bank USA FSB launched an initiative yesterday to offer banking products and services through Wal-Mart stores in the USA. The TD Bank subsidiary plans to begin offering checking and savings accounts in as many as 100 Wal-Mart stores, and anticipates expanding to other Wal-Mart locations in the U.S. as well as Internet and telephone banking. In Canada, TD operates 74 in-store branches in Wal-Mart stores, as well as providing automated banking machines and cash management services. TD already offers retail financial services to approximately two million customers in the U.S., through self-directed brokerage TD Waterhouse and its affiliate TD Waterhouse Bank. Wal-Mart currently has in-store banks in about 600 of its 2,700 stores. The first stores to offer TD Bank USA services will primarily be new Supercenters. Over time, TD Bank USA intends to expand the initiative to other Wal-Mart locations in the U.S.


CF i-Series 4.0

CheckFree i-Solutions, the leading provider of interactive e-billing and e-statement applications and part of CheckFree Corporation announced that a unit of Williams will pilot the use of the CheckFree i-Series 4.0 software platform to deliver bills online to business customers.

Using the latest version of the i-Series software, Williams’ energy marketing and trading unit expects to improve customer satisfaction while reducing costs associated with traditional business-to-business billing.

CheckFree’s i-Series 4.0 software eliminates the need for printing and mailing itemized paper bills. CheckFree’s Business Process Rules Support can streamline customer follow-up efforts as well as increase the speed at which bill payments are remitted.

“Electronic bill presentment soon will become a customer service given in the business-to-business environment,” said Iris Bryant, director of customer relationship management for Williams’ energy services group. “Williams selected CheckFree as part of our larger initiative to provide our customers with web-enabled service options. We’re looking forward to a successful rollout and are excited about the possibilities for our customers.”

According to a November 2000 GartnerGroup survey of more than 100 U.S. non-service enterprises with annual revenues ranging from $100 million to $5 billion, business process improvements such as reduced billing costs, faster cash flow and an improved bill review, dispute and payment processes are critical to the success of large-scale organizations’ B2B initiatives. For instance, sellers expect to lower the typical cost of producing a paper bill or invoice from $5 to $1.65 by reducing labor, postage, paper and equipment expenses through implementing a B2B electronic billing and payment solution. In addition, these sellers also expect to cut in half the average fully loaded cost of manually resolving a bill or invoice dispute from $20 per live call to $10 for a bill dispute that is handled online. More than 10 percent of business bills or invoices are disputed today, according to a January 2001 Gartner report.

With i-Series 4.0, CheckFree i-Solutions delivers to billing organizations a full-scale platform and the ability to interface with Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning applications as well as an interface to Cognos(R)’ Online Analytical Processing application, PowerPlay, for browser-based, detailed analysis of bills and statements. CheckFree i-Series also offers industry-specific snap-on modules enabling payers to intelligently review, adjust, restate charges, approve and pay bills and invoices online. Vertical-specific modules address the needs of utilities, telcos, insurance, and financial services, including banking and brokerage bills and statements.

“As one of the first organizations to use CheckFree i-Series 4.0 for a business-to-business online billing solution, Williams will be able to more rapidly deploy these solutions in a cost-effective manner, while integrating the software with its existing back-end IT infrastructure,” said Tom Stampiglia, president of CheckFree i-Solutions.

Williams’ energy marketing and trading unit buys, sells and transports a full suite of energy commodities. The group handles approximately $250 billion in energy transactions each year. Williams offers its customers online access to view invoices, deal confirmations and market analyses, conduct volume checkouts, resolve questions, and manage account information through the secure online system.

About Williams (NYSE: WMB)

Williams, through its subsidiaries, connects businesses to energy, delivering innovative, reliable products and services. Williams’ information is available at [www.williams.com][1].

About CheckFree i-Solutions

As a software group within CheckFree Corporation, CheckFree i-Solutions is the leading provider of end-to-end business-to-consumer and business-to-business solutions for e-billing and payment and e-statement delivery. CheckFree i-Solutions offers CheckFree i-Series software for e-bill and e-statement creation, i-Processing services that include payment and distribution through more than 300 financial services sites and customer care, and i-Hosting services that accommodate self-hosting or outsourcing. With 271 billers under contract, CheckFree i-Solutions is committed to helping billers, financial services organizations and biller service providers leverage electronic bills and statements as interactive conduits to customer relationship management, marketing and customer self service applications.

About CheckFree ([www.checkfree.com][2])

CheckFree (NASDAQ: CKFR) is the leading provider of financial electronic commerce services and products. Founded in 1981 and celebrating its 20th year in e-commerce, CheckFree is comprised of three divisions: Electronic Commerce, Software, and Investment Services. CheckFree launched the first fully integrated electronic billing and payment solution in 1997. As of June 30, 2001, CheckFree’s Electronic Commerce division enabled more than 5.2 million consumers to receive and pay bills electronically. The company has multi-year contracts with 271 of the nation’s top billers to provide online billing and payment through more than 300 financial services organizations, including banks, brokerage firms, Internet portals and content sites and personal financial management (PFM) software. CheckFree Investment Services provides a broad range of investment management services to thousands of financial institutions nationwide. The division’s clients manage more than 1,150,000 portfolios totaling more than $500 billion in assets.

CheckFree’s Software division provides solutions through three operating units: CheckFree ACH Solutions, CheckFree Financial and Compliance Solutions (CFACS), and CheckFree i-Solutions. CheckFree i-Solutions is the leading provider of e-billing and e-statement software and hosting services for both business-to-consumer and business-to-business applications, with more billers as clients than all of its competitors have combined. CheckFree ACH Solutions provides software and services that are used to process more than two-thirds of the nation’s six billion Automated Clearing House payments, while CFACS provides reconciliation and compliance software and services to more than 400 organizations in the banking, brokerage, utility, retail, insurance and credit card industries, among others.

[1]: http://www.williams.com
[2]: http://www.checkfree.com


Panasonic Gets Smart

Gemplus International announced this morning that Panasonic has signed a VAR agreement to promote smart card-ready electronics in North America, based on Gemplus’ smart card solution suite. Panasonic is incorporating Gemplus’ smart card technology into the reader products suite. Panasonic and Gemplus will develop and enhance market opportunities for smart card solutions based on joint expertise, global support and shared customer bases. Pansonic plans to deliver smart card-enabled consumer electronics within the next year. Panasonic Industrial Company is a unit of Matsushita Electric Corporation of America.


G&D Loyalty Card

Giesecke & Devrient and Welcome Real-time have signed a technology agreement to collaborate on providing off-the-shelf EMV payment and loyalty cards for card issuers and retailers. The deal combines Welcome Real-time’s ‘eXtended Loyalty System’ within Giesecke & Devrient’s range of EMV debit and credit cards. This is the first time, Giesecke & Devrient will offer payment and loyalty functions on its cards. ‘Star Debit/Credit’, Giesecke & Devrient’s product line for debit and credit smart cards, is fully compliant with the current EMV standard and committed to all future standard enhancements. ‘StarDC V’ is the secure solution for VISA’s smart debit/credit cards and ‘StarDC M’, the secure solution for Europay’s and MasterCard’s ‘M/Chip Lite’.


Agent Battle Ends

The battle over who will issue credit cards to Wachovia’s customers has ended. Due to the merger with First Union, MBNA will expand its agent bank relationship to include the current customers of Wachovia. As a result, Bank One/First USA will end their agent bank relationship with Wachovia and sell back to Wachovia approximately $1.3 billion of consumer credit card receivables of customers who also have a Wachovia retail banking relationship. On April 9, Bank One/First USA announced the purchase of Wachovia’s $8 billion portfolio The deal closed on July 27 with the proviso that if the merger with First Union was completed then Bank One/First USA would sell the relationship accounts along with the agent bank rights back to Wachovia. Under terms of the July agreement, Wachovia will pay Bank One a $350 million termination fee as well as reimburse Bank One for the premium paid for the repurchased receivables and conversion costs related to the repurchase. Wachovia expects to resell these receivables to MBNA. The agent bank relationship is expected to end in early October, and the repurchase transaction is expected to close sometime thereafter. Bank One still expects the primary Wachovia portfolio to add approximately $100 million after tax to its 2002 earnings, as previously announced.(CF Library 4/9/01; 7/30/01)


Bankruptcy Fraud

An anonymous nationwide survey of bankruptcy judges, administrators, trustee, and lawyers conducted by Kessler International, found that 31% of those polled knew of flagrant abuses of bankruptcy laws in cases they have handled. More than 60% stated they knew of some abuse and only six percent stated that they thought bankruptcy laws were followed and each filing was honest. Kessler noted that according to statistics obtained from the U S Department of Justice only 188 cases of bankruptcy fraud were prosecuted in 1999. More than 400,000 cases were filed during the second calendar quarter, the highest number ever filed in one quarter. According to data released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, a total of 400,394 petitions were filed between April 1 and June 30 of this year, a 24.5% increase over the 321,729 cases filed in the same period last year. Kessler International is a forensic and investigative accounting firm based in New York City. (CF Library 8/27/01)


Charge for the Cure

For the fourth consecutive year, American Express will raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer when it launches Charge for the Cure, a campaign to raise $500,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

American Express will donate one cent for every purchase made on an American Express Card at participating merchants from September 1 through the end of October. Since 1998, through similar promotions, American Express already donated $1.3 million to help battle breast cancer. Donations are not tax deductible for Cardmembers.

This year, Charge for the Cure includes retailers in the “everyday spending” category, including supermarkets, drug stores, and mass merchandisers. Cardmembers can help raise money by using the Card for purchases at participating retailers nationwide and on-line at participating Web retailers. Cardmembers can visit for the list of participating merchants.

“Our continued involvement in the fight against breast cancer is one way American Express fulfills its core value of being a good corporate citizen,” said Susan Griffin, vice president, retail industries, American Express. “Charge for the Cure will not only help raise money for breast cancer research and community outreach programs, but it will also help raise awareness about this disease and the great work carried out by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.”

American Express has been committed to raising awareness and making donations towards finding a cure for breast cancer. In addition to donating $1.3 million to breast cancer causes over the last three years, American Express is also a longstanding sponsor and participant in the annual Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation New York City Race for the Cure(R). The company also received the U.S. Postal Service’s first Social Awareness Award in May 1999 for its role in promoting nationwide awareness of the Breast cancer Research Semi-Postal Stamp.

“We are pleased to partner with American Express again this year and are extremely grateful for the support they have given us in the fight against breast cancer,” said Linda Kay Peterson, chairman of the board of the Komen Foundation. “The Charge for the Cure campaign enables Cardmembers — simply by using their cards for everyday purchases — to play an important role in the Komen Foundation’s mission to find a cure for breast cancer.”

About the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36. Today, the Foundation is an international organization with a network of volunteers working through local Affiliates and Komen Race for the Cure(R) events to eradicate breast cancer as a life- threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening and treatment. For breast health or breast cancer information, contact the Komen Foundation’s National Toll-Free Breast Care Helpline, 1.800.I’M AWARE(R), or visit its award-winning Website, .

About American Express

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, investment products, insurance and international and online banking. For more information on American Express, visit our website at .


Stock Pounding

The stock market will be watched closely this morning after last week’s pounding following bad economic news. In early trading all sectors and markets were heading down. Friday’s erosion was driven by a spurt in unemployment and heightened talk of a recession. Among credit card stocks, Providian has now hit new 52-week lows after closing at $25.72 Friday. Last week, Providian lowered its earnings estimates for the year, citing a recent slowdown in customer purchase activity, softer loan demand relative to expectations, and ongoing credit tightening. The Providian news spilled over to other credit card stocks.

Sept. 10
Providian $25.72 – 7.35% $67.00 $25.72
MBNA $30.02 -5.30% $40.12 $27.30
Metris $22.75 -3.60% $42.94 $19.15
Capital One $48.50 -3.46% $73.25 $45.88
Household $55.04 -3.44% $69.98 $43.88
Amer Express $34.60 -1.93% $63.00 $34.00
NextCard $ 7.99 NC $12.75 $ 4.56
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)


Diebold Global Deal

Diebold, Incorporated and Global Election Systems Inc. announced they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Diebold will acquire Global. The agreement was unanimously approved by Global’s Board of Directors.

Pursuant to the agreement, Diebold will acquire all the outstanding Global shares at a per share price equal to $1.135, with 80 percent of the consideration payable in stock and 20 percent payable in cash. The stock portion of the consideration is subject to a maximum of .03027 Diebold shares and a minimum of .02421 Diebold shares for each Global share. Global currently has 23.1 million shares outstanding on a fully diluted basis. The closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2001 and is subject to a number of conditions including Global shareholder and regulatory approval.

Diebold also previously provided $5 million of interim financing to Global. Diebold and Global previously signed a contract manufacturing agreement where Diebold will produce more than 500 AccuVote-TS touch screen voting terminals to fulfill a contract previously secured by Global. Diebold expects the acquisition to be neutral on 2001 earnings and accretive in 2002.

Global Election Systems Inc., is an industry leader in the election equipment marketplace with over 850 jurisdictions in North America utilizing its AccuVote (optical scan) or AccuVote-TS (touch screen) voting systems. Its product line also includes VoteRemote, a high speed automated absentee ballot printing and processing system. Global’s acquisitions and strategic alliances have enabled the Company to participate in international bids involving nationwide voting system projects. For further information, visit Global’s website at .

Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self- service delivery systems and services. Diebold employs more than 11,000 associates with representation in more than 80 countries worldwide and headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of $1.7 billion in 2000 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at .

This document does not constitute a solicitation by Diebold or Global or their boards of directors or executive officers of any approval or action of Global’s stockholders. Global will file an offering circular and other relevant documents concerning the proposed transaction with the appropriate Canadian regulatory authorities. Stockholders and investors are urged to read the offering circular when it becomes available and any other relevant documents filed because they will contain important information on the proposed transaction. Global also files annual, quarterly and special reports and other information with the SEC. You may obtain such documents filed with the SEC free of charge at the website maintained by the SEC at . You may obtain documents filed with the Canadian regulatory authorities and the SEC by Global free of charge by requesting them in writing from Global, 1611 Wilmeth Road, McKinney Texas 75069, Attention: Investor Relations, or by telephone at (972) 542-6000.

Diebold, Global and their directors and executive officers may be deemed participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Global in connection with the acquisition. Information about the directors and executive officers of Diebold is set forth in Diebold’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2000. Information about the directors and executive officers of Global and their ownership of Global’s stock is set forth in Global’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000. Stockholders of Global may obtain additional information regarding the interests of such participants by reading the definitive offering circular when it becomes available.


ECHO Split

Electronic Clearing House Inc. announced that its shareholders have approved a one-for-four reverse split of the company’s common stock at a special shareholders’ meeting held on Sept. 7, 2001.

The reverse split will affect shareholders of record at the close of business on Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, and the company’s common stock will begin trading on a post-split basis at the open of business on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. The letter “D” will be appended to ECHO’s trading symbol for 20 trading days so the trading community is aware of the reverse split. The reverse split will reduce the number of shares presently outstanding from 21.6 million to approximately 5.4 million shares.

The action is being taken in response to a Jan. 5, 2001 notification to the company from the Nasdaq Stock Market that ECHO did not meet the $1.00 minimum closing bid price requirement for continued listing on the Nasdaq SmallCap market.

In July, Nasdaq granted the company continued listing subject to ECHO meeting the following conditions: 1) on or before Aug. 3, 2001, the company was required to file a proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Nasdaq, evidencing its intent to seek shareholder approval for a reverse stock split; and 2) on or before Sept. 17, 2001, the company is required to demonstrate a closing bid price of at least $1.00 per share and, immediately thereafter, a closing bid price of at least $1.00 per share for a minimum of ten consecutive trading days. The company believes that the reverse split will resolve the bid price deficiency; however, there can be no guarantee that it will do so.

“We are pleased that the company’s shareholders have approved this reverse stock split,” said Joel M. Barry, chairman and chief executive officer of ECHO. “Given the company’s strong sales growth and opportunity to rapidly expand our check-related services, we believe this step positions ECHO to maintain our Nasdaq SmallCap listing and create shareholder value in the future.”

Notification to registered shareholders regarding the exchange of stock certificates will be forthcoming.

About ECHO

Electronic Clearing House Inc. provides a complete solution to the payment processing needs of merchants, banks and collection agencies. ECHO’s services include debit and credit card processing, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, check re-presentment, check collection and inventory tracking. Customers include more than 60,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation.


SSP Technology

SSP Solutions, Inc. providing solutions and services that enable secure, real-time movement of financial transactions and valued digital content, announced the world’s first secure and anonymous Internet commerce transaction solution securing ATM and debit cards — the equivalent of cash — as well as traditional credit cards for Internet purchasing. Banco Nationale de Credito will go live with this technology via the Internet, using SSP’s bundled hardware and software package uniquely enabling embedded two-factor authentication required for ATM, credit or debit transactions. Available worldwide, initially the program will be rolled out to 2,000 consumers in the Dominican Republic with larger deployment scheduled for the following quarter.

“Merchants are anxious to leverage ATM and debit card business opportunities — expanding their customer base and reducing repudiation and fraud associated with traditional credit card transactions,” said Rob Gorman, managing director of strategic affairs SSP Solutions, Inc. “We’re moving quickly to support this initiative and deliver a powerful product specifically designed to secure ATM and debit customer segments for online shopping.” The package includes the SSP Solutions branded ETSS (Enhanced Transactional Secure Software) application and a secure SSP(TM) EMBASSY(R) (EMBedded Application Security SYstem) card reader that connects directly to the consumer’s PC. The reader is both mag-stripe and smart-card compatible and uses a secure numeric keypad for PIN and password entries. ETSS is the world’s first embedded non-repudiation card present software that enables merchant to secure transactions without the actual credit, debit or ATM customer account numbers available to the merchant, thereby protecting both the consumer and the merchant from account number database fraud and unauthorized intrusions. Both VISA and Mastercard are supported by this technology. Several recent well-publicized illegal intrusions of merchant databases have resulted in thousands of consumer debit and credit card account numbers being stolen, and the embedded SSP ETSS software eliminates this risk to the merchant. SSP also exclusively licensed on a worldwide basis the marketing and deployment rights of ETSS software originally developed by a joint venture of SSP and Freestar Technologies. Banco National de Credito is the first major banking organization to actively deploy this solution.

About SSP Solutions, Inc.

SSP Solutions, Inc. develops and distributes the SSP(TM) Security Suite of hardware, software, and embedded security products designed as the Trusted Symbol of the Digital Economy(TM). SSP products embed security and trust throughout the transaction chain protecting electronic communications and financial transactions, network access, and the exchange of copyrighted digital content. By combining our 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, healthcare, 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.

About Freestar Technologies, Inc.

Freestar Technologies, Inc.’s Enhanced Transactional Secure Software (“ETSS”), a proprietary software package that enables consumers to consummate secure e-commerce transactions over the Internet using credit, debit, ATM (with PIN) or smart cards. The ETSS system integrates a consumer-side card-swipe terminal with a back-end host-processing center. It encrypts sensitive financial data at the consumer’s personal computer, using powerful DES encryption and algorithms. It sends an authorization number to the e-commerce merchant, rather than the consumer’s credit card information, to provide a maximum level of security. The Company plans to link several large, established smart card systems together on an ETSS-based standard to achieve economies of scale and further market penetration for this secure e-commerce payment system. For further information, please contact Dominican Republic, Haydee Marquez, Investor Relations of Freestar Technologies, 809/732-5911 or John Paul Salvador, Market Intelligence.