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

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


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 [http://www.intercept.net][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 [http://www.cteq.com][3].

[1]: /graphic/cteq/cteq.gif
[2]: http://www.intercept.net/
[3]: http://www.cteq.com/


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 www.efunds.com.

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 [www.NYCE.net][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.

[1]: http://www.nyce.net/


Authorize.Net Grows

InfoSpace, a leading global provider of cross-platform infrastructure products and services on wireless, broadband, and narrowband platforms, announced that momentum continues to build as its Authorize.Net Payment Processing Platform reports more than 100,000 merchants have signed up to utilize the service. Additionally, InfoSpace today announced the launch of a private-label payment processing service enabling financial institutions, independent sales organizations (ISOs) and resellers to offer online payment processing to their merchant customers under their own brand.

The news follows closely recent announcements by InfoSpace of enhancements to its Authorize.Net service, such as wireless payment processing on mobile devices, that are designed to continue driving merchant adoption as InfoSpace seeks to establish Authorize.Net as the default payment-processing platform for merchants worldwide.

“This announcement represents a major milestone for InfoSpace as we continue to build our network of offline and online merchants looking to us to provide them with innovative solutions that help them to leverage Internet technology to grow their business,” said Naveen Jain, chief executive officer of InfoSpace.

InfoSpace’s Authorize.Net Service

InfoSpace’s Authorize.Net(TM) service has been pioneering online payment processing solutions since 1996 providing server-based payment solutions that enable merchants to process transactions in a secure, real time environment 24 hours a day and in over 150 currencies. The Authorize.Net service has grown to include more than 100,000 merchants enabled to authorize, process, and manage credit card and electronic check transactions in a real-time, online environment on mobile devices and Internet enabled personal computers.

About InfoSpace

InfoSpace is a leading global provider of cross-platform merchant and consumer infrastructure services on wireless, broadband, and narrowband platforms. The company provides commerce, information, and communication infrastructure services to wireless devices, merchants, and Web sites. InfoSpace’s partners encompass a global network of wireless, PC, and non-PC devices, including cellular phones, pagers, screen telephones, television set-top boxes, online kiosks and personal digital assistants. InfoSpace has relationships with AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, Intel, Virgin Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Hasbro, National Discount Brokers, and Bloomberg, among others. InfoSpace’s affiliate network also consists of more than 3,200 Web sites that include AOL, Microsoft, NBC’s Snap, Lycos, and ABC LocalNet. InfoSpace is also positioned to tap the market for broadband wired (DSL and cable) and broadband wireless (2.5G and 3G) services, such as interactive gaming, television and other entertainment services. In addition, the company recently added back-end payment processing to InfoSpace’s existing commerce services, allowing InfoSpace to offer everything a merchant needs to conduct the entire lifecycle of a transaction, one of the key drivers of mobile commerce adoption.


MIST Expansion

Canadian-based MIST Inc. announced Friday it is expanding its operations by opening new offices in the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. office will be based in Phoenix, and Asian operations will be coordinated from offices in Tachikawa-city, Japan. The Company says the future for wireless transactions is very bright and it is time to reach into the US and Asian markets. The firm has already acquired certifications from several of the largest U.S. processors. During the past year, MIST’s revenue increased by more than 22% from $32.9 million to $40.2 million. The company employs approximately 200 persons.


Card Hacks

The FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center confirmed Thursday that more than 40 businesses located in 20 states have been victims of organized hacker activities specifically targeting U.S. computer systems containing personal credit card data. The FBI investigations thus far have disclosed several organized hacker groups from Eastern Europe, specifically Russia and the Ukraine, that have penetrated U.S. e-commerce computer systems by exploiting vulnerabilities in unpatched Microsoft ‘Windows NT’ operating systems. Many of these so-called “patches” have been available for more than two years. More than one million credit card numbers have been compromised to-date. After notifying the victim company of the intrusion and theft of information, the hackers generally make a veiled extortion threat by offering Internet security services to patch the system against other hackers. The usual ransom is $100,000 cash. The hackers tell the businesses that without their services, they cannot guarantee that other hackers will not access the network and post the credit card information and details about the compromise on the Internet. If the victim company is not cooperative in making payments or hiring the group for their security services, the hackers’ correspondence with the victim company has become more threatening. Investigators also believe that in some instances the credit card information is being sold to organized crime groups. The news from the FBI’s NIPC comes as the Internet crimes division is under fire from Washington lawmakers.