NPC Signs Thornton

National Processing Company announced the signing of a multi-year agreement with Thornton Oil Corporation to provide credit and debit card payment processing. Under the agreement, NPC will provide settlement services for all VISA, MasterCard and debit card transactions.

Thorntons, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is one of the nation’s leading regional convenience store chains, operating 134 stores in five states. Thorntons will benefit from NPC’s extensive experience and leadership providing processing solutions for the petroleum/convenience store industries.

“NPC is excited about regaining the Thorntons account after a brief hiatus,” said Mark Pyke, executive vice president of Merchant Services for NPC. “NPC got its start processing credit card payments for the petroleum industry in the 1960s, and has a long history of providing high quality payment solutions that minimize costs associated with card acceptance. Our clients benefit from NPC’s processing scale and efficiencies, coupled with superior quality and performance.” Mike Rodgers, Vice President Sales Planning for Thornton Oil Corporation said, “We are very pleased with renewing our electronic payment processing business with NPC. NPC has demonstrated proven leadership and expertise, and has shown a willingness, through flexibility, to meet our processing needs.”

About Thornton Oil Corporation

Thornton Oil Corporation was founded in 1971 by Chairman, James H. Thornton. Headquartered in Louisville, KY, Thornton’s operates in five states, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Connecticut. With over $650,000,000 in annual revenue, Thornton’s ranks among the 500 largest privately held firms in the United States. They are one of the largest independent convenience store and gasoline marketers in the country and rank in the top ten percent in nearly every industry key performance indicator reported by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

About National Processing Company

NPC is a leading provider of merchant credit card processing. NPC is 87 percent owned by National City Corporation (NYSE: NCC) ( [][1] ), a Cleveland based $89 billion financial holding company, supporting over 500,000 merchant locations, representing nearly one out of every five Visa(R) and MasterCard(R) transactions processed nationally. NPC’s card processing solutions offer superior levels of service and performance and assist merchants in lowering their total cost of card acceptance through our world-class people, technology and service. Additional information regarding NPC can be obtained at [][2].




Gemplus International S.A. warned that first quarter results are expected to
fall short of the company’s previous guidance. Based upon preliminary analysis
of its results for the quarter ending March 31, 2001, the company anticipates
revenue for the first quarter to be approximately 290 million(EURO). This
represents 25% growth from first quarter levels in 2000, instead of the 31-32%
growth projected earlier. The company now expects operating profit to be
slightly below breakeven for the first quarter of 2001.

“Despite continued strong performance in Asia,” said Antonio Perez, president
and chief executive officer, “we are seeing softer SIM card demand in other
regions of the world, particularly Europe and North America. The economic
slowdown in the wireless industry is clearly affecting demand as our customers
assess their businesses. However, 25% revenue growth in the current
environment, while short of our guidance, is solid. This performance follows
our strongest year ever.”

The company indicated that as a result of the volume shortfall it expects an
unfavorable shift in product mix and unfavorable manufacturing variances in
European based factories. Historically, operating profit in the first quarter
has been the weakest of the year.
“The management team is currently finalizing work on a series of proposed
initiatives intended to reduce manufacturing variances, which we plan to
announce very shortly,” added Mr. Perez.
As to the second quarter and full year guidance in the context of these
developments, the company announced that no adjustments would be made to its
original guidance until it has completed its analysis of the first quarter’s
results. The company will communicate its revised guidance during its full
first quarter results conference call on May 2, 2001.

Since its creation in 1988, Gemplus International S.A. (Euronext Sicovam 5768
and NASDAQGEMP) has driven the global marketing and deployment of smart
card-based applications for telecommunications, financial services and
e-business security.

Gemplus is instrumental throughout the value chain – chip design, card
management systems, software development, and consulting – delivering
integrated custom-made solutions for the security, personalization and privacy
management needs of clients and partners worldwide.
Gemplus technology has played a defining role in the development of wireless
telephony since the introduction of SIM cards into the GSM standard in 1990.
For more than a decade, Gemplus has pioneered applications that enable network
operators around the world to answer the changing needs of their customers.
Gemplus was first to market with a 3G card and supplies a product range
compliant with new and emerging transmission standards – 2.5G, 3G.
In 2000, revenue was 1.205 BE, up 57% from the previous year’s 767ME. Net
income was 99 ME. Gemplus employs more than 7800 people in 37 countries
worldwide. Since 11 December 2000, Gemplus shares have been trading on
Paris S.A. First Market and on Nasdaq in the form of ADSs.


The Road Ahead

The first six months of this year may produce a few potholes for credit card issuers. Even though an outright recession seems unlikely and inflation remains under control in the USA, the rise in unemployment, due to the decelerating economy, may impair Americans’ ability to meet their credit card debt payments. The unemployment rate is expected to rise above 5% by early 2002. Standard & Poor’s analysts predicted yesterday that, in the short run, weaker consumer confidence and the destruction of stock market wealth will depress consumer spending and GDP. S&P also said if a mild recession materializes it would have a more severe impact on consumer credit quality. Portfolio performance tracked by CardData ([][1]) and others are already pointing to higher delinquency and chargeoff numbers for March.



Online Fraud

Online merchant fraud continues to be a significant problem according to a new survey by The Worldwide E-Commerce Fraud Prevention Network. Fifty percent of respondents reported that losses from online fraud cost their businesses between $1,000 and $10,000. Nineteen percent reported costs at more than $100,000. However 60% of merchants reported they spend less than 1% of total revenues on fraud prevention. Nineteen percent listed about 1% of revenues, and 10% reported they spend more than 3% of revenues on fraud prevention. Interestingly 33% listed the difficulty in prosecuting Web-based fraud as the greatest threat to their online business. Other threats included: stolen credit cards (22%); lack of security standards across the Web (19%); growing use of credit card generators (14%); and identity theft (12%). The four most popular fraud fighting tools were: address verification systems (70%); customer follow up and real-time authorizations (both 54%) and post-process fraud management (43%). Asked to rate the tools as most effective for reducing online fraud, survey respondents listed the following: address verification systems (68%); real-time authorizations (52%); card verification codes (49%) and customizing rules (42%t). Rated as most effective among at least one-third of respondents were fraud scoring, negative file lists, customer follow-up and post process fraud management. The least utilized tool was a custom-built neural network, with only 12% of merchants indicating they use this fraud prevention method.



Versatile Card Technology, Inc., one of the world’s largest plastic card
manufacturers, is announcing the opening of a 60,000 square foot production
facility in Chennai (Madras), India.
This new venture, Versatile Cards Ltd., is a wholly owned subsidiary of VCT
and is scheduled to begin operations in May 2001.
VCT is opening this new facility in response to an increase in plastic card
business in international markets over the past several years. The VCP
production facility in India will primarily serve the European and Asian
card markets.

VCP is expected to have an annual capacity of 80,000,000 cards, produced
for a variety of applications, including credit cards, bank cards, ATM
cards, loyalty programs, membership cards, identification cards, and direct

VCP will also have state-of-the-art milling, embedding, and encoding
equipment to be able to produce chip cards and smart cards.
A minority business venture founded in 1986, Versatile Card Technology,
Inc. is a MasterCard and Visa certified plastic card manufacturer that
currently produces more than 600,000,000 cards per year.



SCM Microsystems, a leading provider of solutions
that open the Digital World, announced at the CeBit trade show in
Hannover that it will develop and deliver a universal secure smart card reader
for consumers in Europe, based on FINREAD specifications to be released in the
first part of 2001. FINREAD is a consortium of European banks whose goal it
is to create a secure online payment system based on smart cards that is
affordable and easy to use, deploy and upgrade.

Through the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), FINREAD is
developing a series of specifications for intelligent smart card readers
intended to support electronic commerce, home banking and digital signature
applications. SCM’s secure readers will be the first to provide support for
multiple applications, including credit card, e-purse, loyalty and secure home
banking. Readers are expected to be available for deployment in the second
half of 2001 with first prototype in June. They will be offered to the market
via various distribution channels throughout Europe.

Members of the FINREAD Consortium include Groupement des Cartes Bancaires
“CB” (France), Visa EU (United Kingdom), Europay International (Belgium),
Banksys (Belgium), Interpay Nederland (the Netherlands), SIZ (German Savings
Banks Financial Group, Germany) and Ingenico (France).

SCM Microsystems has a long track record of developing smart card readers
and terminals for security applications. SCM’s forthcoming generation of
FINREAD compliant readers will include strong cryptographic mechanisms that
will authenticate smart card users, providing a high level of security to
consumers, as well as non-repudiation protection for merchants. In addition,
the readers will rely on an open Java-based application interface and a K-Java
Virtual Machine to enable total interoperability of applications across
different vendors, along with secure download of applets from a trusted

The adoption of FINREAD specifications is a key milestone for the smart
card reader industry,” said Robert Schneider, Chief Executive Officer at SCM
Microsystems. “By defining an open standard, FINREAD will dramatically
accelerate the deployment of smart card readers to support financial
transactions of all sorts. Without interoperability between readers, cards
and applications, this technology is simply too expensive. With these common
standards and with compelling applications from cash downloads to movie
viewing, SCM’s potential for reader deployment is tremendous.”

European banks will benefit from having standardized and secure smart card
readers available for both financial and non-financial transactions. This
will allow them to deploy new applications across Europe, quickly and

Other industries to which SCM is delivering security products also see the
adoption of FINREAD standards as an important development as they work to
create and deploy new services for customers. For example, forthcoming
FINREAD specifications for embedded security will enable digital television
broadcasters to offer viewers the ability to pay for premium content through a
FINREAD compliant remote control, and allow cell phone users to purchase goods
and services using a smart card. SCM will work with its OEM customers to the
hardware and software components necessary to enable any device to be FINREAD

FINREAD specifications will be compliant with other banking standards,
such as Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) and the Europay Mastercard Visa
(EMV) for smart cards. It is expected that the FINREAD smart card reader
initiative will lead to a global standard for secure banking over open

About SCM Microsystems

SCM Microsystems is a leading supplier of solutions that open the Digital
World by enabling people to conveniently access digital content and services.
SCM’s advanced silicon solutions, hardware and software enable secure exchange
of electronic information for digital applications from e-commerce to
broadband content delivery by providing controlled access points to platforms
such as PCs, digital cameras and digital television set-top boxes. Known as a
premier supplier to OEM companies around the world, SCM also serves the retail
market through its Dazzle, Microtech and FAST product brands. Global
headquarters are in Fremont, Calif., with European headquarters in
Pfaffenhofen, Germany.


Bank One Settlement

Bank One has offered to pay $45 million plus interest to settle a shareholder lawsuit related to the handling of its First USA credit card division. Yesterday, the bank holding company, also announced it has resolved a regulatory investigation by the NASD and has agreed to pay a $1.8 million fine to settle charges related to the internal accounting problems caused by a systems changeover and its regulatory treatment. Under the proposed shareholder settlement, Bank One will pay 11 cents a share to investors who bought stock between Oct. 22 and Nov. 10, 2000. The class action lawsuit alleges that Bank One officers misled shareholders about the financial trouble in its First USA subsidiary.



President’s Choice Bank launched the
new President’s Choice Financial MasterCard in British Columbia, allowing
consumers in the province to be the first in Canada to be able to earn free
grocery rewards for everyday spending on their credit card.

“The President’s Choice philosophy has always been about searching the
world to bring consumers unprecedented value”, explains Geoff Wilson, Vice
President Industry and Investor Relations, Loblaw Companies Limited, “We
believe that the President’s Choice Financial MasterCard offers the best
credit card value for Canadian consumers with its unbeatable combination of
free grocery rewards, premium credit card benefits and no annual fee.”

The main feature of the President’s Choice Financial MasterCard is the
PC points loyalty program. PC points is a unique program designed
specifically for customers of President’s Choice Financial services. Customers
who use this new MasterCard can earn PC points on purchases everywhere,
redeemable for free groceries in Loblaw Companies Limited owned and franchised
stores such as Real Canadian Superstores in BC. Other great travel and
merchandise rewards will be introduced to the PC(TM) points program in the
near future.

Accepted at 19 million locations worldwide, the President’s Choice
Financial MasterCard also offers all the benefits of a premium credit card
such as purchase assurance, extended warranty for purchases on the card and
MasterCard Roadside Assistance – all for no annual fee.

“Nine of the past 11 new credit card issuers in Canada have chosen
MasterCard,” said Craig Penney, Vice President and General Manager, MasterCard
Canada. “Both the President’s Choice Financial and MasterCard brands are seen
as leaders in their respective industries in developing innovative programs
that directly benefit consumers. This relationship is a natural match which
will give Canadians more choice in the way they want to pay.”

The launch in British Columbia represents the first stage of a roll-out
of the President’s Choice Financial MasterCard across Canada. Over the next
three months, the President’s Choice Financial MasterCard will be introduced
in Alberta, the Prairies, Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces with Quebec
following in 2002.

About President’s Choice Financial services

Since the launch in February 1998, President’s Choice Financial services,
a co-venture between Loblaw Companies Limited and Canadian Imperial Bank of
Commerce, have grown at a rapid pace, offering Canadians unprecedented savings
of time and money. President’s Choice Financial services include Canada’s only
no fee daily bank account, the Interest First(TM) savings account with a
premium interest rate currently at 4.10 percent, the Unbeatable, Eatable
Mortgage(TM) which combines better rates and free groceries, a low-cost
borrowing account, a daily interest investment account RRSP, a variety of
loans, high interest GICs, plus PC(TM) points towards free groceries. There
are more than 240 President’s Choice Financial bank machines and 180
President’s Choice Financial pavilions located at Loblaw Companies Limited
stores across Canada. President’s Choice Financial core banking services are
provided by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The President’s Choice
Financial MasterCard will be provided by President’s Choice Bank, a subsidiary
of Loblaw Companies Limited.

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment
brands in the world. More than 1 billion MasterCard(R), Cirrus(R) and
Maestro(R) logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation
today. An association comprised of 22,000 member financial institutions,
MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210
countries and territories. MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation,
offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional
worlds. With more than 19 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in
more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard card. In 1999, gross
dollar volume exceeded US $727 billion.



ID Data plc, The AIM-quoted manufacturer of secure transaction systems and
smart card services, announces the appointment of Bob Thomson as Sales
Director. Bob Thomson, formerly the ICL clients director of Barclay Bank
plc for five years, was also the ICL Services Director for Retail &
Financial Services (UK) in his 21 year career with ICL. His experience is
ideally suited to head the newly created marketing team at ID Data.

Commenting of the appointment, Peter Cox , Chief Executive of ID Data,
said “Bob’s skills in managing resources and relationships, developing
people and business planning will build on out existing position and the
healthy progress we are making. His background in banking and retail
ideally fits out business.”

Upon his appointment, Bob Thomson said “ID Data’s products and services
officer real value to customers’ businesses. I look forward to being part
of this new team and to offering products to wider international markets.”

Other members of the marketing team include Neil Drake, whose background in
journalism, market research and PR stand him in good stead for his role as
Marketing Services Executive. Anna Grainger comes to the position of Sales
and Marketing Coordinator, with extensive training, telemarketing and Sales
experience. Michele Cottis, is joining Anna as Sales and Marketing
Co-ordinator with ten years’ experience as a team leader in sales and
customers relations. The whole team have extensive contacts in, and
knowledge of, the international markets that ID Data is expanding further into.



SCM Microsystems, Inc. has announced that Motorola, has selected SCM as its
smart card interface
supplier of choice, for Motorola’s Streamaster 5000 advanced set-top box.
Streamaster is a multimedia broadband information, entertainment and
communications center that derives its content from xDSL service providers.

SCM will provide Motorola with its Smart Transporter Chip, a universal
smart card reader interface, based on SCM’s widely adopted SmartOS.
“SCM has an excellent reputation for its smart card-based solutions and
the Smart Transporter Chip is a great solution for our set-top boxes,” said
Jackie Beauchamp, general manager, Multimedia Systems Division at Motorola.
“SCM demonstrated the ability to control both design and manufacture of its
chips. Also, it was important that SCM could supply us with the large
quantities of product needed, as we predict high demand for Streamaster 5000.”
Streamaster 5000 supports a rich variety of basic and enhanced services.
These include premium digital TV, Web browsing, e-mail, online 3-D games,
personal video recording and video/music-on-demand. By incorporating SCM’s
Smart Transporter Chip, Motorola’s newest set-top box will also support smart
card-based payment transactions for items such as pay-per-view movies, music
downloads and T-commerce purchases.

“Being chosen as a supplier of choice for one of the world’s leading names
in broadband communications is the highest endorsement — not just for the
quality of our products, but for our ability to manufacture and produce units
in very high volume,” said Jason Schouw, vice president of U.S. sales for
SCM’s PC Security division. “Our smart card chips are extremely versatile and
can be used in a variety of platforms and applications. Combined with our
manufacturing capability, OEMs have a powerful argument to buy from SCM.”
SCM’s Smart Transporter Chip enables easy integration of support for all
smart cards, including ISO 7816 compliant smart cards. The Smart Transporter
Chip’s architecture is based on open standards and is upgradeable to support
new smart card protocols and functions.

About SCM Microsystems

SCM Microsystems is a leading supplier of solutions that open the
Digital World by enabling people to conveniently access digital content and
services. SCM’s advanced silicon solutions, hardware and software enable
secure exchange of electronic information for digital applications from
e-commerce to broadband content delivery by providing controlled access points
to platforms such as PCs, digital cameras and digital television set-top
boxes. Known as a premier supplier to OEM companies around the world, SCM also
serves the retail market through its Dazzle, Microtech and FAST product
brands. Global headquarters are in Fremont, Calif., with European
headquarters in Pfaffenhofen, Germany. For additional information, visit the
SCM Microsystems Website at http//

About Motorola

Motorola, Inc. is a global leader in providing integrated communications
and embedded electronic solutions. Sales in 2000 were $37.6 billion



Diebold is upgrading its proprietary ‘DECAL’ electronic customer access link, to allow customers to monitor and generate Diebold ATM service calls from any computer with an Internet browser. ‘DECALWeb’ eliminates the need for a dedicated computer to create and track service calls. ‘DECALWeb’ customers can set a priority for the service, monitor the estimated time of arrival of the service technician, review the service action and identify when the problem has been resolved. The implementation of ‘DECALWeb’ follows the recent announcement of an agreement with MDSI Mobile Data Solutions Inc. to implement a new wireless data communications system based on MDSI’s ‘Advantex-Enterprise Gateway’ wireless connectivity solution.