Givex Gift Cards

Network Commerce Inc., the global technology infrastructure and services company, announced a joint agreement between their GO Software division and Givex USA Corporation, a subsidiary of Givex Corporation, North America’s premier gift certificate solution provider.

Under this agreement, Givex Corporation will provide Network Commerce with the technology to launch the company’s first gift certificate management tool. Givex’s technology will be integrated with PCCharge products and enable merchants to sell and redeem gift certificates in real time directly through their point-of-sale systems. The Givex technology provides merchants with a single solution for tracking and managing every form of gift certificate — including gift cards and e-gift certificates.

“We are pleased to be able to offer a gift card solution as an option to our customers,” said Tony Abruzzio, vice president and general manager of Network Commerce. “This relationship was driven by our existing customer base, especially point-of-sale software developers who were asking for an easy way to integrate gift card solutions into their software.”

Pete Catoe, president of ECR Software Corporation said, “Our customers have been asking for a payment processing solution that has gift card capabilities. Now, with PCCharge we can provide a seamless solution to our Catapult dealer channel.” ECR’s Catapult Retail Enterprise Automation product is a point-of-sale solution that uses PCCharge Payment Server to process electronic transactions.

“The alliance combines the strengths of two powerhouse organizations,” said Don Gray, chairman and chief executive officer of Givex USA Corporation. “This partnership will optimize user experience and provide the real-time gift card solution PCCharge customers have been asking for.” Givex gift certificate technology will be available in PC Charge Pro, PC Charge Express and as an integrated solution in PCCharge Payment Server.

About Network Commerce Inc.

Established in 1994, Network Commerce Inc. ([http://www.networkcommerce.com][1]) is the global technology infrastructure and services company. Network Commerce provides a comprehensive technology and services platform including domain registration services, hosting services, e-commerce services, business services, one-to-one marketing services, wireless technology, and online marketplaces. Network Commerce’s technology and services platform operates on the infrastructure of four data centers, over 500 servers, and bandwidth of 50 megabits per second. Network Commerce is headquartered in Seattle. In 1999 Network Commerce acquired GO Software, the creator of PCCharge and RiTA software.

About Givex Corporation

Givex Corporation ([www.givex.com][2]) is North America’s premier gift certificate solution provider for the retail and hospitality sectors. Givex seamlessly integrates point-of-sale (POS) devices — LAN-based registers, credit card terminals, kiosks and the telephone — with the Internet to create a secure real-time gift certificate management system. Givex technology provides merchants with a single solution for tracking and managing every form of gift certificates across multiple sales channels. Current customers include Cadillac Fairview Shopping Centers, Kelsey’s Restaurants and Montana’s Saloon, Play-it-again Sports, Playdium and Faces Cosmetics. Givex currently has over 6,000 points of presence across North America. Patents are pending for the Givex technology in Canada and the United States.

[1]: http://www.networkcommerce.com/
[2]: http://www.givex.com/

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e-llegiance

Smart Chip Technologies Inc. and Transaction Software Inc., a payment systems development specialist for VeriFone, a division of Hewlett-Packard, Thursday announced they have entered into a joint agreement to develop e-llegiance, the next-generation of SCTN’s patent-protected Smart Chip Loyalty applications, to run on VeriFone Verix point-of-sale terminals.

TSI will take an equity position in SCTN as part of the agreement. SCTN recently introduced e-llegiance, its multi-platform, patent-protected loyalty application. Designed to run on any Global Platform or Visa Open Platform compliant Smart Card or POS device, the product has been engineered to fully integrate with all major credit/debit payment programs. The common loyalty platform can process loyalty credits originating from magnetic stripe, stored-value, cash, check, or smart chip-based credit/debit transactions, fully supporting the international banking and credit industry migration to smart chip-based payments.

TSI will use the VeriFone Verix Developer Toolkit for rapid development of e-llegiance(TM) integrated with VeriFone’s SoftPay(TM) e-payment software running on Omni(TM) 3350 POS terminals. SCTN and Seattle-based Merchant Service Group plan a 2001 implementation of the e-llegiance(TM) loyalty application. VeriFone’s SoftPay e-payment software provides both comprehensive merchant-ready payment applications and a turnkey solution for the retail, restaurant, rental, and lodging industries. The VeriFone Omni 3350 POS terminal features true application separation to support multiple applications running on the same terminal.

The Omni 3350 can process all forms of e-payment including magnetic stripe, smart card and stored value, and is secured by VeriFone’s VeriShield security architecture. In addition, the Omni 3350 features a 32-bit processor with a 14.4K modem, generous memory optimized with dynamic memory allocation, and a 12.5 lines-per-second integrated printer.

“We believe SCTN’s e-llegiance(TM) smart card loyalty application is the type of multi-application smart card solution needed to foster the growth of smart card-based payments in the U.S.,” said Phil Lockerbie, director, North American field marketing at VeriFone.

“Integrating SCTN’s flexible consumer loyalty product with VeriFone’s powerful, multi-application Omni 3350 and SoftPay e-payment software will offer additional value to merchants looking for ways to extend their terminal investment.”

“We are very pleased to have a strong development partner like TSI to provide us with critical software integration services,” said Jim Williams, president and chief executive officer of Smart Chip Technologies Inc. “We are receiving numerous inquiries about e-llegiance(TM). Offering the fully integrated solution with VeriFone’s SoftPay e-payment software will expedite the introduction of the system and position us well in the emerging market for smart card-based loyalty applications.”

About Smart Chip Technologies (SCTN)

Smart Chip Technologies Inc. (www.sctn.com) is an application service provider specializing in end-to-end loyalty and cause marketing solutions designed to run on smart devices. e-llegiance(TM), the newest Smart Chip Loyalty offering, establishes a common platform for loyalty and payment integration, all managed within the SCTN patent-protected software applications.

The powerful LoyaltyCentral(TM) back-end transaction system provides loyalty program management services including the reconciliation and distribution of incentive credits from an unlimited number of sources.

The e-llegiance(TM) solution provides maximum flexibility in the management of click-and-mortar incentive programs, establishing business continuity between the physical, mobile and virtual worlds.

SCTN owns the technology-independent, business methodology patents, entitled “Method and System of Allocating and Redeeming Incentive Credits Between a Portable Device and a Base Device,” issued in the United States, Australia, and Mexico, and pending in Canada and Japan.

The patent-protected methodology promotes a common platform for all consumer rewards schemes, encompassing any and all loyalty programs utilizing customer carried devices, such as smart cards, cell phones, personal digital assistants, TV set-top boxes, or laptop computers.

About Transaction Software Inc. (TSI)

Transaction Software Inc., a payment systems development specialist based in Dallas, develops credit/debit processing, check approval and conversion, and electronic benefits transfer systems for VeriFone and other POS device platforms. TSI actively participates in the VeriFone Early Adopter program with access to the latest payment software and POS devices. TSI’s other clients include American Airlines, 7-11, Tandy/Radio Shack, PCS Healthcare, Patterson Dental, Research In Motion, Pizza Hut, and the Japanese Radio Corp.

About VeriFone

VeriFone ([http://www.verifone.hp.com][1]), a division of Hewlett-Packard Co., is the leading global provider of secure electronic-payment solutions for financial institutions, merchants and consumers. The division has shipped more than 9 million electronic-payment systems, which are used in more than 100 countries.

About HP

Hewlett-Packard Co. — a leading global provider of computing and imaging solutions and services — is focused on making technology and its benefits accessible to individuals and businesses through simple appliances, useful e-services and an Internet infrastructure that’s always on. HP has 88,500 employees worldwide and had total revenue from continuing operations of $48.8 billion in its 2000 fiscal year. Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at [http://www.hp.com][2]. Further information about VeriFone can be accessed at [www.verifone.hp.com][3] or by contacting Jennifer Gordon, Eastwick PR for VeriFone, 650/480-4012 or Jennifer.Gordon@eastwick.com. Further information on SCTN can be accessed via the corporate web site, [www.sctn.com][4], by contacting SCTN Investor Relations at 801/685-7676 or by writing InvestorRelations@sctn.com or Marketing@sctn.com.

[1]: http://www.verifone.hp.com/
[2]: http://www.hp.com/
[3]: http://www.verifone.hp.com/
[4]: http://www.sctn.com/

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AmEx 7-Eleven ATMs

7-Eleven signed an agreement for American Express to be the primary provider of ATM services for 7-Eleven stores’ financial services kiosks. ‘V.com’ is 7-Eleven, Inc.’s web-enabled, integrated financial services kiosk that merges the capabilities of an ATM with the benefits of the Internet. AmEx, which currently provides ATM services for about 90% of 7-Eleven’s 5,300 stores in the USA, will now provide ATM services on ‘V.com’ in all the areas where the AmEx holds 7-Eleven ATM contracts. The ‘V.com’ pilot is now in beta test at five 7-Eleven locations in Dallas. 7-Eleven will next conduct a transactional test in an additional 89 stores in Texas and Florida with the anticipation of adding ‘V.com’ to 7-Eleven stores nationally starting as early as the end of this year. Late last year, AmEx signed a pact with 7-Eleven to offer a reloadable, prepaid gift card and an Internet shopping card. (CF Library 2/6/01; 2/28/01)

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FDMS Signs PRI

First Data Merchant Services, a subsidiary of global electronic commerce and payments leader First Data Corp., announced it has signed a long-term merchant processing agreement with Payment Resources International, an Independent Sales Organization and one of the industry’s largest and fastest growing international ISO organizations.

The merchant processing agreement provides transaction and authorization processing, settlement and other services to Payment Resources International merchant customers. Using First Data Merchant Services’ Omaha processing platform, which is used by many of the industries’ largest Independent Sales Organizations, Payment Resources International will be capable of customizing solutions for their merchants.

“We are very pleased to partner with Payment Resources International, an extremely innovative ISO organization which has a proven track record of success with a wide array of merchant clients throughout the world,” said Kurt Strawhecker, senior vice president, First Data Merchant Services. “This agreement once again illustrates that First Data is a leading provider of processing capabilities for Independent Sales Organizations.”

According to Andrew M. Phillips, president and CEO of Payment Resources International, “First Data offers a very robust, high quality processing system and has successfully supported a large variety of business solutions for our varied client base. By partnering with First Data we now have the products we need to continue our growth. First Data has been extremely responsive to Payment Resources International and we looking forward to a long mutually beneficial relationship.”

About First Data

Atlanta-based First Data Corp. helps move the world’s money. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves more than two million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. With more than 27,000 employees worldwide, the company provides credit, debit and stored-value card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; Internet commerce solutions; Western Union money transfers and money orders; and check processing and verification services throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Spain and Germany. Its money transfer agent network includes approximately 101,000 locations in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdata.com][1].

About Payment Resources International

Payment Resources International is an aggressively expanding organization based in Newport Beach, California. The company was established in 1998 by founders with 20 years of experience in the processing industry. PRI merchants processed over 66 million transactions in the year 2000 and will more than double that number in 2001.

Services offered to their merchants include credit card and debit card processing with online statements (PRIview), ACH services via terminal, PC software and online Internet access, a gift and reward card program, and a extensive offering of Internet e-commerce solutions from easy startup to fully customized sites.

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

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OMNI 3600

VeriFone yesterday introduced the ‘Omni 3600’ a wireless, portable, multi-application e-payment terminal. The new terminal has a triple-track magnetic-stripe reader, primary smart card reader, and internal PINpad to support credit, debit, and smart card-based transactions. The smart card reader is compliant with EMV standards. Three ‘Security Access Modules’ help safeguard sensitive financial data and support multiple smart card schemes. The new portable terminal utilizes VeriFone’s global e-payment platform, which includes VF’s ‘Verix’ operating environment to support and run multiple applications on a single device. The terminal also comes with VeriFone’s ‘VeriShield’ security architecture. The ‘Omni 3600’ has a large graphical display and high-speed, integrated thermal printer render logos, graphical fonts and character-based languages at up to 15 lines per second. The portable also has an interchangeable, lithium-ion battery that handles up to 100 transactions, including printing, on a single charge. The terminal base also includes a fast 14.4 Kbps modem to streamline batch settlement, perform remote software downloads, and provide backup transaction processing if needed.

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epic & Paymentech

Paymentech, the largest processor and acquirer of bankcard transactions in the United States, announced that it has fast-tracked certification of, and is now offering, Hypercom’s value-added epic services. These services include electronic signature and receipt capture, customized receipts with merchant logos and promotional messages, and on-screen terminal advertising to merchants using Hypercom’s ICE 5500 touch-screen based card payment terminal. Paymentech will add Hypercom’s web browser, e-mail and additional services as forthcoming enhancements.

“These advanced services can help merchants generate new and on-going revenues at the point-of-sale, and they are generating tremendous interest among our ISO and merchant clients,” said Sean Riley, group manager for Paymentech’s third-party processing business and client relationship management. “Paymentech’s support of Hypercom’s epic ICE card payment terminals and applications, combined with our expanded ISO help desk and robust reporting capabilities, deliver a true full-service POS program for our clients and their merchants.”

Hypercom’s epic (ePOS-infocommerce(TM)) electronic signature and receipt capture service (ERC) creates a paperless system that securely stores and retrieves electronic receipts on demand, virtually eliminating bank chargebacks and the need for merchants to store and manually retrieve paper receipts. Hypercom ERC combines secure front-end signature capture with a secure back-end receipt storage and retrieval platform. Customers simply swipe their card, interact with the terminal through the intuitive touch-screen displays, and sign directly on the screen.

All receipt data, including the cardholder’s signature, is electronically captured and stored on secure servers. Signature and transaction data are locked together as a single image and time-stamped for fraud prevention. The integrated chargeback defense mechanism allows for the quick location and retrieval of the disputed transaction, which can then be sent to the appropriate party by electronic mail, fax or electronic data interchange. This process complies with MasterCard(R) and VISA(R) operating regulations. Hypercom’s POS advertising service allows merchants to generate custom logos on receipts, and display and send sophisticated interactive messages and revenue-generating incentives to the customer when they are interacting with, and have their attention focused on, Hypercom’s ICE terminal at the point-of-sale. Coupon choices, messages and loyalty program rewards can also be printed on to the receipts to build customer loyalty and generate incremental revenue.

“Hypercom’s electronic signature and receipt capture and POS advertising services allow Paymentech to free up its customers from laborious and expensive charge-back procedures while simultaneously generating exposure, and repeat exposures, for key messages,” said Nick Logan, president, Hypercom’s epicServices Division (formerly ePicNetz). “We are pleased to support Paymentech in this rollout. It is another strong endorsement of our epic strategy and products.”

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) is a leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers. Hypercom’s products include secure card payment terminals and web appliances, networking equipment and software applications for e-commerce, m-commerce, smart cards and traditional payment applications. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom maintains an installed base of more than 3.5 million card payment terminals which operate in over 100 countries and conduct more than 2.5 billion transactions annually. Hypercom’s Internet address is: [www.hypercom.com][1].

Dallas-based Paymentech, the payment solutions company(TM), delivers secure and reliable electronic payment services in merchant acquiring and point-of-sale transaction processing with a wide array of product functionality and support. Paymentech ([www.paymentech.com][2]) processed approximately 3.4 billion total transactions and $109 billion in bankcard sales volume in 2000. Founded in 1985, the nation’s largest processor and acquirer of credit card transactions is also the leader in non-face-to-face payment processing for Internet and direct marketing.

[1]: http://www.hypercom.com/
[2]: http://www.paymentech.com/

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ICE 5700

Hypercom unveiled Thursday the ‘epic ICE 5700’ touch screen-based, high speed, card payment terminal with an integrated motorized check reader. The new ‘epic’ device is an Internet-enabled card payment terminal and web appliance that magnetically reads the MICR Line on a check, supports dial-up to multiple check processors for fast verification against negative files or check guarantee via positive online authorizations. This newest member of Hypercom’s ‘ICE’ family of card payment terminals offers all of the operational features of Hypercom’s ‘ICE 5500’, as well as the integrated motorized check reader, which supports a variety of MICR formats with high reading accuracy. The terminal incorporates a firewall-protected multi-applications operating system, EMV chip card capability, secure PIN pad, built-in HTML/HTTP web browser and integrated receipt printer. In addition to the embedded applications. The ‘ICE 5700’ also supports a range of value-added applications and services including electronic signature and receipt capture, e-mail, on-screen advertising, interactive electronic coupons, and cash management reporting through a standard browser – as well as secure credit, debit, check, EBT and smart card functions.

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OPC Signs Iowa

Official Payments Corporation announced the company has signed an agreement with the State of Iowa to provide a service enabling Iowa citizens to make a variety of delinquent tax and fee payments by credit card, over the Internet and by telephone.

The new system is scheduled to go live later this year. The contract represents the firm’s first business within the state. Official Payments also provides various credit card payment services to the Internal Revenue Service, 17 other state governments and over 700 counties and municipalities in 42 states across the United States.

When the system is launched later this year, Iowa taxpayers will be able to use the American Express Card, Discover Card, and MasterCard to make their delinquent tax and fee payments. The following taxes are included: individual income, withholding, fiduciary income, retail sales, retail use, consumer use, and inheritance. Debts owed to the Judicial Department, Department Of Inspections & Appeals, College Aid, and Department Of Human Services may also be paid through Official Payments.

Payments of delinquent taxes will be made by visiting www.officialpayments.com on the Internet or by calling 1-800-2PAY-TAX. Official Payments will charge taxpayers a convenience fee of 2.5% of their tax payment for the service. For example, a taxpayer who makes a $500 tax payment would be charged a total of $512.50; $500 for the tax payment, and a 2.5% fee, or $12.50, to cover the cost of the service. As a bonus, taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back or airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes. “We are pleased with our momentum in signing Iowa as our 18th state client,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman & CEO of Official Payments. “We will work quickly to launch the delinquent tax payment system and will then pursue other tax categories with the state,” Mr. Evans added.

In addition to the service for the State of Iowa, taxpayers can now make their Federal Form 1040 Balance Due Payments, Form 4868 Extension of Time to File, and Form 1040ES Estimated Payments (beginning March 1) by credit card, on the Internet at www.officialpayments.com or by calling 1-800-2PAY-TAX. Official Payments charges a flat 2.5% fee (minimum payment of $1.00), which is the lowest price available from the two companies that are listed in IRS instructions as providing credit card tax payment services to taxpayers.

About Official Payments Corporation

Official Payments Corporation (Nasdaq: OPAY) is the leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company’s principal business is enabling consumers to pay their government taxes, fees, fines, and utility bills by credit card, via Internet and telephone. The company is unequaled in market penetration and national footprint. Official Payments is the incumbent in contracts with the Internal Revenue Service, 18 state governments, and well over 700 county and municipal governments in 42 states across the United States. In 2000, Official Payments collected and processed over $925 million in federal, state, and local government payments. Official Payments was founded in the San Francisco Bay area in 1996. Thomas R. Evans, the former President & CEO of the Internet company GeoCities, became Chairman & CEO of Official Payments in the summer of 1999. Mr. Evans brought Official Payments public in November of 1999, raising $80 million in its IPO on the NASDAQ national market. The company has experienced rapid and sustained growth over the past six reported quarters in revenue, new client acquisition, and addition of incremental services to existing clients. The company’s success can be attributed to the combination of an enormous market opportunity with a highly skilled and experienced management and staff, aggressive sales and marketing, and a core competency in developing and implementing leading-edge technical systems.

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VitalSync

Vital Merchant Services yesterday launched a Web site that provides acquirers a new channel to successfully manage their merchant customer’s terminal portfolios. ‘VitalSync’ enables acquirers to instantly order and monitor point-of-sale equipment, supplies and services as well as access historical data on their merchant customers. Acquirers log on to the web site with a protected password. Through ‘VitalSync’, Vital Merchant Services has direct access to Vital Processing Services’ ‘Merchant Management System’. This allows Vital Merchant Services to download merchant profile information of Vital’s acquiring clients.

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Card Debt Softens

After a very sluggish December, American consumers have continued to show restraint with credit card debt during January. This year consumers added $6.7 billion during January compared to $9.2 billion for January 2000. According to preliminary figures released Wednesday afternoon by the Federal Reserve, revolving debt grew 12.1% annually for Jan 2001 compared to an 18.5% rate for Jan 2000. Last year American consumers added $67 billion to total revolving credit. Overall, consumer credit is growing at a 12.6% rate. At the end of January, American consumers were $1.550 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages. The latest FRB data shows the average annual interest rate charged on credit card accounts that revolve is 15.23%.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL
($billions)

Jan 01 Dec00 Nov00 Oct00 Sep00 Aug00 Jul00

%GRWTH: 12.1% 4.4 10.9 4.7 7.8 12.6 6.7

$OWED: $669.7 663.0 660.6 654.8 649.3 645.1 638.2

Jun00 May00 Apr00 Mar00 Feb00 Jan00 Dec99
%GRWTH: 11.2% 12.7 13.5 13.8 9.4 18.5 12.5
$OWED: $634.7 628.9 622.5 615.5 608.5 605.0 595.8

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 03/07/01;
For complete historical data visit www.carddata.com.

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AUSTRALIA

Dallas-based Carreker Corp. has signed a new fraud prevention contract in
excess of $1 million with one of the largest banks in Australia and has
completed its first licensing agreement in the UK to provide its
‘eiManager’ ATM monitoring software to Halifax plc. In Australia, Carreker
will provide its ‘FraudLink On-us’ and ‘FraudLink Deposit’ software to
monitor potential fraudulent activity across all check transactions within
the bank’s operations. In the UK, Carreker’s ‘eiManager’ will provide ATM
fault and device monitoring, as well as automated dispatch and escalation
of service requests, to the more than 2,500 ATMs operated by Halifax
throughout the U.K.

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Mont Ward Cards

With the Montgomery Ward bankruptcy underway, GE Capital is now replacing Montgomery Wards credit cards with Wal-Mart credit cards. Montgomery Ward filed bankruptcy in December and is in the process of unloading assets. GE’s Georgia-based Monogram Credit Card Bank began mailing out replacement cards on Monday. Monogram charges an APR between 13.24% and 21.24%, based on credit risk, for the Wal-Mart credit card, according to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]). GE currently manages or owns more than 100 million credit card accounts with approximately $25 billion in receivables, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][2]).

[1]: http://www.cardwatch.com/
[2]: http://www.carddata.com/

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