NPC Renews Radisson

National Processing Company a leading provider of merchant credit card processing and corporate outsource solutions, and a wholly owned subsidiary of National Processing, Inc., announced Monday that Radisson Hotels & Resorts, a division of Carlson Group of Companies, has renewed a multi-year agreement for processing of agency commissions.

Radisson Hotels & Resorts, a world leader in the hotel industry, operates, manages and franchises more than 420 hotels and resorts worldwide, representing 99,000 guest rooms in 59 countries. Radisson has earned an industry leadership position pioneering new hospitality concepts and is expanding into new markets around the world. Solidifying its position as a market leader, Radisson has focused on total guest satisfaction and other initiatives designed to provide individualized services and greater customer intimacy.

“This renewal is a sign of our positive relationship with NPC,” stated Brian Stage, executive vice president of Marketing and Sales for Radisson Hotels & Resorts. “NPC’s services continue to help strengthen Radisson’s position in the marketplace with regard to Agency commissions. Commission Express has been key to Radisson’s strategy to develop and leverage Agency relationships and to improve service support of Radisson many operations. This renewal will allow Radisson to continue providing its customers with first-rate quality, value and customer service.”

“The renewal of Radisson Hotels & Resorts is an affirmation of its confidence in NPC,” stated John T. McRae, II, senior vice president of Outsource Services for NPC. “We are delighted that Radisson has renewed its commissioning agreement and look forward to helping them maintain their competitive edge and strong market presence.”

About Radisson Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Radisson Hotels & Resorts is part of the Carlson Group of Companies. Carlson Hospitality Worldwide is a global leader in hospitality services, encompassing more than 1,330 hotel, resort, restaurant and cruise ship operations in 79 countries. Specific brands include: Regent International Hotels; Radisson Hotels & Resorts Worldwide; Country Inns & Suites By Carlson; Park Plaza and Park Inn Hotels in North America; Carlson Lifestyle Living (Carlson Park); Carlson Vacation Ownership; Radisson Seven Seas Cruises; T.G.I. Friday’s; Front Row Sports Grill; Friday’s American Bar; Italianni’s; AquaKnox; Star Canyon; Timpano Italian Chophouse; Samba Room; Taqueria Caqonita; and Provisions.

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) (), a Cleveland based $89 billion financial holding company, supporting over 500,000 merchant locations, representing one out of every six 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 [][1] .



Webraska & SureFire

Webraska, the worldwide provider of wireless navigation services and technologies, and SureFire Commerce Inc., a leading global provider of secure online transaction processing services, announce their partnership to develop wireless location-based mobile commerce (m-commerce) services.

Webraska and SureFire Commerce will provide technology and m-commerce solutions for merchants and wireless carriers. The solution will combine SureFire’s proprietary e-commerce solutions with Webraska’s Personal Navigation API. The initial offer will allow merchants to target selected customers, through mobile phones, with personalized purchase offers based on their proximity and individual profile. Furthermore, customers would be able to receive turn-by-turn directions and street-level maps to guide them into the store, providing the merchants with a virtual wireless sales force.

The service will allow consumers to buy goods at a discounted price from the store and get a returned confirmation SMS (or Short Messaging Service) message on the transaction. SureFire Commerce will provide all the secured transactional functions of the service through its mission-critical FirePay online payment platform.

“The Webraska and SureFire joint offering provides a very powerful platform for location-based m-commerce applications,” said Charles Nahas, General Manager, Webraska North America. “This partnership results in an additional strong value proposition for our telecom customers, as well as for consumers and merchants. Registered customers will for instance be able to receive timely personalized offers from merchants, complemented by turn-by-turn directions and maps that guide them to the store to purchase the product.”

“For the consumer, it is a discreet and paperless way to benefit from enticing discounts from renowned merchants. Likewise, mobile operators gain a new revenue stream, differentiate their offerings and reduce subscriber churn.” added Daniel Kornitzer SureFire’s Senior Vice President, Marketing & Product Management. “This innovative location-commerce service stimulates offline transactions by providing location-based offers to consumers and then tracking the transactions in order to immediately apply the appropriate discounts.”

About Webraska

Webraska is the worldwide provider of wireless navigation, spatial searching, mapping and traffic information services and technologies for telecom operators and car manufacturers.

Helping carriers leverage their UMTS, Wireless Internet and Location-Technology assets, and allowing application developers to ‘location & navigation-enable’ their wireless applications and location-based services, Webraska shortens time-to-market requirements, increases revenue and market opportunities, customer loyalty and brand recognition, for leading wireless service providers around the world, including SFR, TIM, ADAC and Orange. Webraska’s technology has been selected by industry leaders such as IBM, Nortel, Oracle, Openwave and SignalSoft.

The company is headquartered in Poissy, France and has offices in London, Brussels, Madrid, Amsterdam, Milan, Stockholm, Tokyo, Singapore, Melbourne and Montreal. For more information visit: [][1]

About SureFire Commerce

SureFire Commerce Inc. is a global business-to-business provider of proprietary e-commerce solutions in the area of secure credit-card transaction processing and merchant enabling. SureFire Commerce is an international provider of secure online transaction processing services to merchants in the areas of sports, entertainment and gaming, among others, targeting to process in excess of $1 billion in transactions this fiscal year. SureFire Commerce’s merchant enabling solutions provide telecommunications companies, Internet service providers, high traffic portals and financial institutions the ability to generate recurrent revenue streams for themselves and their small- and medium-sized business customers. SureFire Commerce is headquartered in Montreal, with offices in Hull and Boston.



7-Eleven Prepaid Phone

TracFone Wireless, Inc., a nationwide leader in prepaid wireless communications, has expanded its retail presence at 7-Eleven stores nationwide. By offering TracFone Wireless’ prepaid wireless airtime in up to 5,200 participating 7-Eleven convenience stores from coast to coast, TracFone Wireless now markets its prepaid wireless solution in up to 29,000 retail outlets nationwide.

“7-Eleven’s decision to make our TracFone prepaid airtime cards available in its stores nationwide confirms our belief that our product is the perfect convenience store purchase,” said F.J. Pollak, president and CEO of TracFone Wireless. “7-Eleven customers can add minutes to their wireless phone at the same time they buy a cup of coffee or gallon of milk. TracFone has proven to be the ideal convenience store commodity, especially with wireless service starting at $7.99 per month.”

“Being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 7-Eleven is the destination of choice for prepaid replenishment cards.” said Tim McCallum, category manager for Prepaid Services at 7-Eleven, Inc. “TracFone’s widespread availability across the nation provides an added convenience for customers, with wireless airtime available around the clock and around the corner.”


TracFone Wireless sells its wireless phone service for as low as $7.99 per month, with rates available as inexpensive as $.33 per minute, which include all telecommunications taxes and fees. The TracFone Wireless prepaid cellular airtime cards are sold in increments of 10, 30, 120, or 300 units for $7.99, $19.99, $49.99, or $99.99, respectively. TracFone Wireless recently added a Plus(3)(R) card, where its customers can purchase an annual wireless service for only $99.99.

About TracFone Wireless

TracFone Wireless is the largest nationwide provider of prepaid wireless communication services. TracFone Wireless sells the TracFone service, a pay-as-you-go wireless phone service with coverage throughout the United States. TracFone Wireless’ service incorporates a customer-friendly, cost-control feature that displays the exact remaining airtime balance on the phone. TracFone Wireless requires no contract, no credit checks, no monthly bills, no activation fee, no security deposit and has no age requirements. TracFone Wireless has licensing agreements to imbed its proprietary prepaid technology in Nokia and Motorola handsets. TracFone Wireless is an affiliate of America Movil (NYSE:AMX). For more information on TracFone Wireless, visit the web site at [][1].



Oberthur Acquisition

Oberthur Card Systems announced this morning it has acquired Logica Impresora S.A., the top card manufacturer in Spain. Under terms of the deal, Oberthur will pay FRF 66 million (USD $9.06 million) to buy Logica. Oberthur says the acquisition is in line with the projected migration to smart cards of the Spanish banking sector by 2003. A strong growth is predicted in Spain as well as the rest of Europe where the adoption of EMV specifications calls for the replacement of traditional magnetic stripe cards with chip-based smart banking cards. Oberthur says this also provides the company with the ideal platform to further penetrate the burgeoning South American market. Barcelona-based Logica has annual revenues of FRF 60 million (USD $8.24 million) and 70 employees. The acquisition brings Oberthur’s total up to 19 production sites across the five continents.


Pathways Downsizing

WA-based The Pathways Group announced Friday it will reduce the space in its corporate office in Woodinville, WA and Santa Rosa, CA. and close its Honolulu sales facility. The proposed changes, along with other cost cutting measures, entail significant staff layoffs in all locations. Pathways says it is refocusing its efforts on the further development and sales of its transaction processing and card based solutions, as well as its ticketing suite of products. Last month, Upgrade International Corporation announced it was terminating its merger agreement with Pathways. Upgrade International Corp., through its ownership interest in UltraCard Inc., Efornet Corp. and cQue Corporation is engaged in the development and commercialization of a patented ultra high capacity portable data storage technology. (CF Library 2/20/01)


Tidel Distribution Deal

Tidel Technologies, Inc. announced that it has signed a preferred distribution marketing agreement with National Bank Equipment Corporation, one of the nation’s leading ATM distributors. Under the terms of the multi-year deal, National Bank Equipment will market the complete product line of Tidel ATMs to its customers.

“We entered into this strategic alliance with Tidel because of the strong combination of products, reliability and service that they offer,” said Thomas J. Kielich, President of National Bank Equipment. “Tidel offers the highest level of customer support of any manufacturer that we have worked with. It sets them apart from the pack.”

Michael Hudson, Executive Vice President of Tidel, added, “We are excited that National Bank Equipment selected Tidel for its primary product line of ATMs. Based on their historical levels of business, we expect equipment purchases from them of approximately $2 million in 2001. This estimate could increase, however, as a result of a recently executed agreement between National Bank Equipment and a regional health care association to provide ATM equipment and services to various member hospitals and clinics.”

Based in Buffalo, New York, National Bank Equipment has offered banking equipment, service and supplies for over nine years. National Bank Equipment was a pioneer Independent Sales Organization (ISO) for off-premise ATM deployments in the early 90’s and is currently one of the top ten ISO’s in the United States.

Tidel Technologies, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of automated teller machines and cash security equipment designed for specialty retail marketers. Tidel pioneered the dial-up ATM in 1992 and was recently ranked 55th in Forbes’ list of the 200 Best Small Companies in America. To date, Tidel has sold more than 30,000 retail ATMs and 115,000 retail cash controllers in the U.S. and 36 other countries. More information about the company and its products may be found on the Internet at [][1].



IVI POS Terminals

IVI Checkmate Corp. announced Friday the U.S. launch of the ‘e(N)-Touch 3000’ and the ‘Elite 510’ terminals. The ‘e(N)-Touch 3000’ is a touch-screen transaction terminal capable of handling secured credit, debit, EBT, smart card transactions as well as value-added Internet applications such as advertising, loyalty, coupon issuance, e-mail and merchant home pages. The terminal was introduced to the Canadian merchant bankcard industry last year. IVI also launched the ‘Ingenico Elite 510’ wireless payment terminal for small retail and restaurant establishments. The ‘Elite 510’ is an advanced, compact and integrated point-of-sale terminal that is a single solution for electronic transaction acceptance and processing. The new terminal features EMV compliance, 1 MB of memory, an integrated smart card reader, and a fast thermal printer. The ‘Elite 510’ was developed by Groupe Ingenico and is distributed exclusively within North America by IVI Checkmate. IVI also announced last week the release of the ‘eN-LAN 4000’ lodging solution. The local area network solution provides hotels, motels, resorts and property management operations with a complete payment authorization and management system. (CF Library 4/5/00;7/28/00)


UK Card Debt

London-based Datamonitor reported last week that UK credit card debt grew 22% annually between 1996 and 2000. However the research showed that despite the influx of US-based issuers into the UK, the issuance market is far from saturated. Total UK outstandings grew from GBP18.7 billion in 1996 to GBP41.1 billion in 2000. Last year, more than 121 million credit, charge and debit cards were in-force generating charge volume of GBP280 billion. Approximately 50 million of the total cards are credit cards. By 2005, the number of credit and charge cards in issue in the UK will almost double to 92.7 million. Datamonitor says gold and premium cards have grown at almost five times the rate of other credit and charge card products thanks to entrance of the US mono-lines. While card usage is surging in the UK, fraud is growing faster. During the five year period analyzed, fraud losses grew 22.8% annually while card volume grew 14.3% annually. Losses peaked in 1999, hitting GBP189.4m. Datamonitor notes that the National Association of Citizen’s Advice Bureaux and the Office of Fair Trading are concerned about credit card debt.





American Express said Friday it has sealed a deal to significantly increase the number of ATMs in the Caribbean. AmEx says it will expand the number of ATMs in the region to over 700 machines, through an agreement that has been signed with TCS (Canada) Ltd. TCS has considerable experience in the Caribbean having implemented national debit systems for Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados and switching products to individual banks in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Grand Cayman. Through the agreement TCS will, on behalf of American Express, initially approach banks on the islands of Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas and Grand Cayman. Once banks agree to accept American Express Cards in their ATMs, TCS will then create the processing infrastructure to connect these banks to American Express via TCS’ data processing center in Oakville, Ontario. American Express cardholders can now withdraw local currency from more than 500,000 ATMs around the world.


C-TEQ Acquired

The InterCept Group, Inc., a leading provider of fully integrated electronic products and services for community financial institutions, announced it has acquired C-TEQ, Inc., a provider of data processing and check and statement imaging to approximately 40 community financial institutions located in Oklahoma and Texas.

John Collins, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of InterCept, said, “We believe the acquisition of C-TEQ will add to our ever growing geographic presence and increase market awareness of InterCept as a leading technology provider for community financial institutions across the U.S. This transaction is consistent with our strategy of increasing our customer base and geography while enhancing value for our shareholders.”

![][1] Ann Johnstone, President and Chief Executive Officer of C-TEQ commented, “It is our belief that by combining our operations with InterCept we will be able to better serve our customers with a full suite of technology solutions to help them continue to operate successfully. We are very pleased to be joining an organization with a strong reputation in the markets they serve and look forward to becoming a part of InterCept.”

InterCept believes this transaction will contribute revenues and EBITDA in 2001 of approximately $3.0-3.5 million and $0.5 million respectively. Additionally, InterCept believes the transaction will be neutral to 2001 earnings per share.

About InterCept

InterCept is a single-source provider of a broad range of technologies, products, and services that work together to meet the electronic commerce and operating needs of community financial institutions. InterCept’s services include electronic funds transfer, debit card programs, core bank processing software, check imaging, and data communications management, as well as Internet banking products and services through its affiliate, Netzee, Inc. More information about InterCept can be found on the Internet at [][2].

About C-TEQ

C-TEQ provides financial institutions with data processing and check and statement imaging. The combination of hardware and software, coupled with C-TEQ’s technical expertise provides community financial institutions with the ability to offer the same services to customers as large financial institutions offer theirs. For more information about C-TEQ, visit its web site at [][3].

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


SafeDebit Gateway

NYCE Corporation announced that eFunds Corporation – a leading provider of electronic payment, risk management, information technology, and business process outsourcing services – will provide an Internet Intercept Processor (IIP) Gateway for SafeDebit payments. The NYCE-certified gateway, which will be available to all U.S. debit networks, will enable retailers and their processors to acquire SafeDebit transactions via a single connection to eFunds.

This translates into less impact to their processing infrastructures, helping to bring the product to market more quickly and cost-efficiently. SafeDebit, which has a patent pending, is the first convenient and portable way to make real-time, PIN-secured purchases on the Internet with funds withdrawn directly from deposit accounts. It is also the only debit payment method that can be used with any standard PC with a CD-ROM drive – and consumers do not have to install any special hardware. In essence, SafeDebit works just like an ATM card for the Internet.

NYCE developed SafeDebit with the support of participating software vendors and operators around the globe. eFunds has been involved since the product’s inception; its IIP components were put to use when the first successful proof-of-concept test of SafeDebit transactions was performed this past July. In its new role as an IIP Gateway, eFunds will process SafeDebit transactions as follows: When a consumer chooses to pay with SafeDebit, the Web merchant’s processor acquires the transaction in encrypted form. From there, the transaction is routed to the IIP, which decrypts certain card data. The IIP then sends the reformatted information (along with the still-encrypted PIN) to an electronic payments network, such as NYCE, so that the transaction can be forwarded to the appropriate financial institution for authorization. With this configuration, merchant processors and networks can participate in SafeDebit via a single connection to eFunds’ IIP Gateway – eliminating the labor-intensive and costly process of connecting multiple endpoints.

“The financial services industry has invested substantially in today’s real-time payments infrastructure, and NYCE’s development of SafeDebit is an ideal example of the ways in which we are helping our participants reap greater value from this investment,” said Paul Turgeon, senior vice president with NYCE. “Working with eFunds to establish the IIP Gateway will help facilitate the full roll-out of SafeDebit and bring its benefits to consumers, financial institutions and retailers more quickly and efficiently.”

“For eFunds, expanding our support for this innovative payment product is perfectly aligned with our goal to help open up the Internet to secure debit payments and spur the growth of e-commerce,” said Jerry Lester, president of eFunds’ Financial Institutions and Networks division.

About eFunds

eFunds delivers innovative, reliable and cost-effective technology solutions to meet its customers’ payment and risk management, e-commerce and business process improvement needs. eFunds provides its services to financial institutions, financial services companies, electronic funds networks, retailers, government agencies, and e-commerce providers around the world. For more information, visit

About NYCE

Headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, NYCE Corp. is one of the largest electronic payments companies in the U.S. The NYCE Network provides financial institutions and retailers with shared network services for automated teller machines (ATMs), online debit, point-of-sale and electronic benefits transfer transactions. Currently, the network has 2,400 financial institution participants and services more than 47 million cardholders through 38,000 NYCE-branded ATMs and 224,000 point-of-sale retailer locations. The company processes nearly 93 million transactions each month. In addition, NYCE Corp. provides financial institutions with real-time processing services that support ATM management and monitoring services as well as debit card issuance and authorization solutions. With innovations such as SafeDebit(TM), a PIN-secured debit payment solution, NYCE is a frontrunner in the payments industry. NYCE’s Web site address is [][1].

Global SafeDebit(TM) Transaction Process

Because the Internet is a global medium, its payment options must also be. NYCE has partnered with technology companies in the United States, Europe and Australia to ensure that SafeDebit is truly a worldwide product. A SafeDebit transaction is routed from the consumer’s PC through multiple processing points around the globe (see below) until an approval message is routed back to the consumer from his/her financial institution – a full circle that takes only about 10 seconds to complete.

1. Cardholder The consumer selects SafeDebit as the desired payment method on the Web site. The card is inserted into the CD-ROM drive and the consumer then enters a PIN (Personal Identification Number). A message then appears from the consumer’s issuing financial institution and the transaction is launched.

2. Merchant Web Site The virtual shopping site’s merchant processor acquires the transaction in encrypted format and forwards it to the IIP for authorization.

3. Internet Intercept Processor (IIP) Gateway The IIP decrypts certain card data and sends the reformatted information to an electronic funds transfer (EFT) network.

4. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Network The EFT network then routes the transaction to the consumer’s financial institution for authorization.

5. Financial Institution The financial institution verifies the consumer’s PIN, authorizes the transaction, deducts the money from the consumer’s account and forwards the funds for deposit into the Web merchant’s bank.

6. Cardholder The financial institution sends a transaction authorization message back through the EFT network, the IIP, which forwards it to the Web merchant for display to the consumer, who receives an on-screen message that the transaction is complete.