CVC/Lite

Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals announced Wednesday the availability of its new, low-cost system for loading funds from credit and debit cards onto smart cards. Card Value Center Lite or ‘CVC/Lite’ processes, authorizes and reconciles bank card transactions for the purpose of adding value to campus ID smart cards. The first of the new systems was purchased by Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh, PA, where it is connected to PNC Bank for transferring value from the cardholders’ bank accounts to their ID cards. For fund transfers from debit card networks via bank ATM machines, a DES pinpad is available to permit encrypted PIN entries to ensure a high level of security. The system can be configured for both credit cards and debit cards. Additionally, the system is also available as ‘D/CVC Lite’ for magnetic stored value systems, providing the same convenience as ‘CVC/Lite’ for sites using the Schlumberger SingleCard solution. Both ‘CVC/Lite’ models are configured with a DES keyboard, debit/credit kit, four-line display, receipt printer and swipe reader. Option kits are available for modem, RS-485 multi-drop communications, and communications with an external host that holds accounts with pre-deposited funds.

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BridgePoint Biometrics

Biometric Identification, Inc., a provider of fingerprint identification systems, announced Wednesday that BridgePoint has selected its embedded OEM fingerprint verification module for integration into their PeopleAccess Smart Card Reader line. Designed for new and retrofit applications, the integrated access control reader provides strong user authentication by employing fingerprint verification in conjunction with the convenience and efficiency of a smart card solution.

“BridgePoint’s goal is to offer customers the most comprehensive and secure smart card-based solutions available on the market today,” said Tom Corder of BridgePoint. “We selected Biometric ID’s fingerprint verification module because it is based on field-proven biometric technology and it provides us with the flexibility to use virtually any sensor component that we want to employ.”

PeopleAccess(TM) Access Control Readers will interface with industry standard Wiegand based access control systems, enabling users to upgrade existing card platforms to smart cards. The Reader can be programmed to differentiate between multiple microprocessor smart cards from major suppliers (Gemplus, G&D, Schlumberger) within the same access system, thus offering an incredibly flexible access solution. BridgePoint utilizes a re-programmable architecture so card platforms can be added or changed in the future at minimal cost.

In addition to the Wiegand based Readers, BridgePoint also plans to integrate the BII OEM biometric module into the firm’s new PeopleAccess Single Door Access Control System. This system, due out in the Second Quarter, will be unmatched in performance and cost for a single door system, believes Corder.

“The adoption of our OEM biometric module by BridgePoint is yet another strong endorsement for the use of Biometric ID technology in smart card based fingerprint verification solutions,” said Bob Kamm, President and CEO of Biometric ID. “We welcome BridgePoint to our distinguished group of over one hundred OEM organizations that are integrating our cost effective embedded fingerprint verification modules into their product lines.”

In addition to the functionality offered by the BridgePoint smart card system, the integrated solution utilizes the advanced technology of Biometric ID’s MV1100 self-contained fingerprint verification module. The MV1100 is an embedded biometric solution, smaller than a business card, which verifies an individual’s identity in less than a second. The device is designed for applications where a host computer is not available or not considered secure. The MV1100 stores thousands of fingerprint templates, performs enrollment and verification with the industry’s leading fingerprint verification algorithm Ridge Recognition(TM), and provides multiple communication options.

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Future Cards

Payment cards of the future might be designed and personalized online by the customer. This is the vision of Holger Mackenthun of CardSelect International. Mackenthun, former president of ORGA Card Systems, says the “All-In-One-Card” approach will enable consumers to customize their payment cards with their favorite merchants, banks and service providers. With multiple applications from multiple vendors available on a secure Web Site, customers would be able to go online to apply for a new card, select their preferred vendors, and have the final card issued almost immediately. They could additionally collect loyalty points from participating vendors. CardSelect International announced Wednesday it has launched a virtual mall for credit card issuers and service providers. The firm has been awarded a patent for personalizing and issuing financial transaction cards, credit cards, smart cards and multiple application cards over the Internet.

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New Midway Card

The Pathways Group, Inc. announced that Funtastic Traveling Shows, one of the nation’s largest carnival operators, will be the first to use version 2.0 of the company’s highly successful cash-free midway smart card system. The new system, which will be used during Funtastic’s Spring 2000 West Coast tour, is expected to touch the lives of more than a million visitors.

With Pathways’ cash-free midway system, customers choose the amount of money they want to store digitally on a secure smart card and can then quickly purchase whatever attractions or refreshments they want using terminals installed at each of the rides, games and concessions. In addition to the convenience this offers the carnival visitor, operators can sharply cut personnel requirements, eliminate potential fraud and reduce the time-consuming chore of reconciling tickets sold and cash received from a matter of hours to a matter of minutes.

Funtastic Traveling Shows opens its Spring 2000 West Coast Tour today in Longview, Washington, using Pathways new and improved version of a cash-free midway system. The system was upgraded based on results of a highly successful pilot program conducted by Pathways and Funtastic last year. The new version of the program’s software offers a more comprehensive reporting system and other enhancements that make the system even more convenient and efficient to use.

“Funtastic has witnessed first hand how quickly Pathways’ cash-free midway system can streamline the carnival business by saving time, money and resources that far outweigh the modest cost of installing our system,” said Monte Strohl, Pathways’ vice president of sales and marketing. “Thanks to Funtastic’s constructive comments on our pilot program, we were able to quickly add a variety of new features and functions tailored to their business. We are confident that the latest version of our system will allow us to improve upon already impressive levels of customer and operator satisfaction. We are extremely pleased to be working with Funtastic to bring the carnival industry into the digital age.”

Pathways’ smart card system also allows the carnival operator to use a special card to collect detail or summary transaction information from each terminal. This gives the operator the ability to accurately determine how much revenue was earned at each ride, game or concession booth during any selected time during the show. In the past, financial information took hours to accumulate. This same information, presented in greater detail than ever before, is now available in a matter of minutes, which represents tremendous savings for carnival owners.

With the launch of Pathways’ newest smart card system last October in San Francisco, Funtastic became the first carnival anywhere in the United States to introduce a cash-free midway using smart card technology. According to the latest rankings by Amusement Business, Funtastic is the seventh largest carnival operator in the United States, hosting nearly 2,000,000 attendees at two West Coast fairs in the winter quarter of 1999.

Based on the success of last year’s pilot program, Funtastic recently signed an agreement with Pathways to continue using the system during its Spring Tour and to purchase thousands of additional Pathways’ smart cards as well as other equipment and support services.

The Pathways Group, Inc., a world leader in smart card technology, provides clients with innovative, secure, individually tailored solutions for capturing and processing data and electronic transactions, with particular focus on Chip Card technology as it is applied to the Worldwide Web.

Founded in 1987, Pathways is today a leading developer of smart card applications offering clients custom software and hardware solutions for electronic banking, e-business, and transaction processing. Pathways’ proprietary back-office systems, coupled with their long-standing core competencies in electronic transaction processing, allow clients to efficiently capture and process data, and transfer funds via “ACH” protocol. This protocol is the De Facto standard for the Banking Industry, used for funds transfer in retail, medical and institutional environments.

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Contactless Proton

HyperSecur Corporation announced Wednesday that a Cooperation Agreement has been signed with Group Bull ([www.bull.com][1]), Cedex, France, a major international IT and smart card group.

The primary purpose of the Cooperation Agreement is to accelerate and facilitate the development and certification of a contactless version of the Proton E-purse, by using the HyperProximity(TM) technology. Proton ([www.protonworld.com][2]) is the world’s most widely used smart card platform and electronic purse technology. With 5 national rollouts and licenses in 13 other countries, Proton licensees have already issued 31 million smart cards and installed 270,000 terminals.

The Agreement provides for the joint development of a dual (contact and contactless) card. This smart card will contain both ISO interfaces, (contact/contactless), and an antenna. Both companies will develop jointly a demonstration smart card that will debit (i.e. a user’s bank account) using the Proton E-purse protocol in contact mode and credit a mass transit wallet for electronic fare collection in a contactless HyperProximity(TM) mode. This new smart card solution will highlight contactless access to the mass transit wallet in both distant and HyperProximity(TM) modes.

Bull and HyperSecur plan to make joint presentations of their dual technology solution to potential customers. The first customer is a Proton license holder, Grupo Financiero Inbursa S.A. of Mexico ([www.inbursa.com.mx][3]), which already has relations with both companies.

John C. Haggard, HyperSecur’s President, said: “With Bull’s support to develop a contactless version of a Proton E-purse, we have dramatically accelerated our development schedule. We will have a new product that will demonstrate that our secure contactless HyperProximity(TM) technology is capable of meeting the high security requirements of the banking sector. With our dual technology solution, we will market a product capable of working with existing contact based Proton E-purse deployments and, through its contactless interface, use it for mass transit and other related applications. With the certification of a full contactless version of the Proton E-purse, we will have a much more cost efficient replacement solution to traditional wear and tear contact technology for the majority of the countries of the world that have not installed smart card based infrastructure.”

About Bull Group

Bull is an international IT group providing companies and their customers with secure Internet solutions. The Bull product line is focused on three key areas for information systems: business servers – GCOS, Unix, NT, Windows2000, consultancy and services extended to the entire IT cycle, and Internet technologies, smart cards and software for network management and secure systems.

Bull is present in more than 100 countries. Its turnover in 1999 was 3.8 billion Euros, of which more than 65% was achieved outside France. Visit the Bull Internet site at [www.bull.com][4].

About HyperProximity(TM)

HyperProximity is a proprietary world patent pending ISO compliant innovative technology capable of bringing to the market the world’s first secure contactless smart card.

Contactless smart cards have two major advantages over traditional smart cards. First, a dramatic increase in data transmission rates between the card and the reader, at least 10 times faster than traditional contact cards. Second, the lack of mechanical connections guarantees a longer life for both contactless cards and readers. Damaged contact readers are especially troublesome due to the fact that they accelerate wear and tear on cards. This has proven to be a major cost factor to the overall life cycle of a project.

Contactless smart cards to date have not been considered secure. The HyperProximity(TM) technology has three properties that have corrected that problem. First, when high-risk transactions are executed on contactless smart cards, the application resident on the smart card can require that the card physically be within “HyperProximity” of the card reader (5 mm or less). This is important to prevent hacking attempts to listen to conversations between contactless cards and readers. Second, when enabled, the HyperProximity(TM) switch can guarantee a connection between the card and the reader much like contact cards do today. This is required for sophisticated applications such as e-commerce applications. And third, the switch can be used to accelerate the speed of contactless smart card processors.

HyperProximity(TM)technology enables the data transmission speed and longevity benefits of contactless smart cards to be realized while preserving the security benefits of contacted smart cards.

Under the terms of our Cooperation Agreement with leading semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics, the HyperProximity(TM) technology will be a standard feature on their new secure contactless micro-controllers. This technology will be first implemented in the ST16HF52 contactless micro-controller.

About HyperSecur Corporation

HyperSecur is a contactless smart card technology licensing company. HyperSecur markets its technology through strategic partnerships by developing hardware and software solutions with card manufacturers, system integrators and service providers. HyperSecur maintains a solutions lab to assist partners and clients to deploy secure contactless smart card applications. Currently the solutions lab is working on numerous Internet, e-commerce, mass transit, health care, automotive, gaming, and PKI projects.

HyperSecur will be an exhibitor (booth No. 350) at the CardTech/SecurTech ([www.ctst.com][5]) Conference and Exhibition, in Miami, Florida, May 1-4, 2000.

The Class A common stock of the corporation is traded on the Over-The-Counter (“OTC”) market, in the United States, with the symbol: HYURA. Further information on HyperSecur can be found at [www.hypersecur.com][6].

[1]: http://www.bull.com/
[2]: http://www.protonworld.com/
[3]: http://www.inbursa.com.mx/
[4]: http://www.bull.com/
[5]: http://www.ctst.com/
[6]: http://www.hypersecur.com/

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Regions Exits

Another regional issuer has joined the march of regional issuers out of the card business. Southeast issuer, Regions Financial Corp. has decided to sell its approximately $300 million credit card portfolio to MBNA. Regions has approximately 300,000 accounts according to CardData’s ‘4Q/99 Portfolio Survey’ ([www.carddata.com][1]). Regions expects to recognize a pre-tax gain of approximately $67 million. Under the agreement Regions will enter into a long-term agent relationship with MBNA. Regions says the sale of its credit card business was a strategic decision to deliver maximum value to its stockholders and to remain competitive over the long-term in the credit card business. Regions cites the changes and consolidation in the credit card industry and the scale required to be competitive as contributing factors to its decision to exit. The deal is expected to close within two weeks.

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

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OPC Signs Nationtax

Official Payments Corp. and Nationtax Online announced the two Internet firms have signed a letter of intent to form a strategic alliance. OPC specializes in processing tax payments by credit card. Nationtax Online’s core business offering allows companies to prepare, file and pay their federal withholding and state business sales and use taxes, as well as other similar taxes online. Nationtax Online currently has official relationships to process business sales and use and similar taxes in six states, as well as federal withholding taxes for the IRS. Nationtax expects to be live in 20 states by the end of June. As part of the agreement, OPC will provide Nationtax Online’s users the added option of paying their business tax obligations by credit card in states which allow credit card payments. Previously, the only payment option available to Nationtax users was to file an ACH debit from the taxpayer’s bank account.

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Platform Seven Sold

Datacard Group announced the acquisition of Platform Seven, a leading independent provider of smart card and e-commerce security products, solutions and services.

Datacard Group will acquire Platform Seven from NatWest Bank. NatWest is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, an international financial institution headquartered in the United Kingdom. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The Platform Seven development facility in London will remain the team’s headquarters.

Already recognized for its security expertise, this acquisition significantly increases Datacard’s role in the smart card market and is a major step forward for the company’s smart card strategy.

“Datacard already provides smart card personalization software for all major card schemes, independent of the card types. Now with the acquisition of Platform Seven, Datacard will expand its role from smart card personalization tools to multi-application smart card software that businesses and consumers rely on within the rapidly developing world of e-commerce,” said Jerry E. Johnson, Datacard Group CEO.

Graham Higgins, Head of Platform Seven said, “Datacard Group is known throughout our industry for its card personalization systems and solutions. At Platform Seven, we’ve created one of the few teams in the world to have developed the specialized software components needed for the security and card lifecycle management challenges of multi-application smart cards. Combining our expertise with that of Datacard will create an unbeatable resource for our customers’ smart card needs.”

Johnson said that Platform Seven’s track record in smart card security and operating systems development is impressive and the team’s recent development of tools to manage multi-application smart cards represents a breakthrough for market acceptance of these cards.

Platform Seven is currently focusing its activity on three main smart card areas: common software interfaces/operating systems, scheme development tools and multi-application card management systems. The team’s Peal and Peal Plus software products will make operating systems and applications easily portable, leading to significant time and cost savings for card issuers. Psignex, a “scheme in a box” suite of product development tools, enables businesses to rapidly implement any smart card program requiring a secure, portable database on the card. The world-leading PMA management system maximizes the value and longevity of the card through the dynamic management of cardholder data and applications. “Platform Seven has been working at every level of the smart card to drive the market forward,” said Platform Seven’s Higgins.

“Our customers recognize that if they want to issue multi-application cards, they need new tools to help them manage the complex development, issuance and application management issues raised by this new technology,” Johnson said. “Platform Seven’s products, when combined with Datacard’s current solutions, provide our customers with a vertically integrated resource for smart card development that is unmatched in the industry.”

ABOUT DATACARD GROUP

Datacard Group is a world leader in innovative plastic card personalization and identity management solutions. Datacard Group provides customers around the world with fully integrated systems for a variety of financial, identification and healthcare applications. The company offers a broad range of card-related products and services including the world’s best-selling plastic card personalization and printing systems. Datacard Group also offers smart card personalization systems and applications, custom solution development, and products designed to improve the efficiency and profitability of card issuing operations. Datacard Corporation, doing business as Datacard Group, is privately held and based in Minnetonka, Minn. Datacard Group serves customers in more than 120 countries. ([www.datacard.com][1])

ABOUT PLATFORM SEVEN

A leading provider of smart card and e-commerce security products, solutions and services, Platform Seven, formerly the NatWest Development Team, has focused on secure smart card software since 1990 when they began the ground-breaking technical design, development and implementation of the Mondex electronic purse. The team went on to develop several smart card operating systems, including one that, in conjunction with Mondex International, was brought to market as the MULTOS smart card operating system. Platform Seven is the only team in the world to have developed non-military applications that have been certified to the ITSEC level E6 security rating. Platform Seven currently numbers over 100 of the world’s finest smart card and e-commerce experts and is based in London. For more information about Platform Seven, please visit our website at [www.platform7.com][2].

[1]: http://www.datacard.com/
[2]: http://www.platform7.com/

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Smart Phones India

India’s ICICI Bank Limited and Orange cellular services have teamed up to allow Orange subscribers who are also ICICI Bank account holders and/or ICICI credit card holders to track their personal finances while on the move. For the first time in India, ICICI has extended e-commerce services to the ICICI credit card holders apart from the bank customers. ICICI would also be launching demat accounts related services to its customers shortly. The system will be able to handle banking queries such as balance update, request for a check-book, details of last three transactions and request for statements by mail or fax. Similarly, ICICI credit card holders will be able to get information about outstanding balance, available cash/credit limits, view payment status/amount due information and view the last three transactions. ICICI plans to provide WAP enabled services with the mobile service providers at a later stage.

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Mielke to eBoodle

eBoodle, provider of the leading online shopping assistant, announced Tuesday that former Visa executive Susie Mielke has joined the company as vice president of marketing. This statement follows the management team expansion eBoodle announced in February with the addition of Charu Rudrakshi, vice president of engineering. Mielke was most recently vice president of strategic marketing at Visa International. In her new position at eBoodle, Mielke will be responsible for all outgoing communications, including public relations, advertising, promotion and events, and will report directly to eBoodle’s president and CEO, Dr. Anil Kamath.

“Our goal is to make online shopping as effective and seamless as possible for the consumer,” said Kamath. “With Susie spearheading our marketing activities, we expect to strengthen our lead in this area by having a strong pulse on consumers, anticipating their needs and placing them at the center of our efforts.”

The company’s Boodle Bar, a downloadable plug-in that sits across the browser, helps consumers find products on more than 40,000 web sites, compare prices, and receive cash back on purchases. It also contains a robust personal profile manager that enables automatic form-filling, as well as transaction record keeping. No other offering matches eBoodle’s range of features, functionality, or ability to leverage personal information.

“I’m delighted to join eBoodle and look forward to contributing my marketing expertise to what is already an outstanding consumer service,” said Mielke. “Our marketing focus will be to firmly establish the product as the most comprehensive online shopping assistant available, and eBoodle as an innovative company of experts who know what consumers want and are steps ahead of the latest trends in online shopping.”

While at Visa International, Mielke was responsible for ecommerce marketing, as well as managing a wide range of initiatives in emerging products and markets. She established a system for measuring the effectiveness of marketing investments and developed a comprehensive methodology used worldwide to monitor Visa’s brand health. Prior to Visa, Mielke was director of consumer research at SRI International. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Stanford University.

About eBoodle

eBoodle provides a comprehensive online assistant through a downloadable agent that dramatically enhances the way individuals find and interact with web content and services. eBoodle is the first company of its kind to help online consumers quickly find merchandise, effectively compare prices for the best values available, and simplify the overall purchasing process. With eBoodle and the Boodle Bar, online shoppers can more easily purchase merchandise from the more than 40,000 e-commerce sites available today. Supported by an executive team, board of directors, and advisory board that include premier technology and business professionals, eBoodle is poised for success in the explosive e-commerce marketplace that is expected to exceed $600 billion by 2002 (Forrester Research, 1999).

Founded in June of 1999, eBoodle is headquartered in Mountain View, California and is funded by Invesco and other private investors. For more information about eBoodle visit [http://www.eBoodle.com][1] , send email to info@eBoodle.com.

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

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Sears & AOL

Sears, Roebuck and America Online announced an alliance yesterday. Under the agreement, AOL’s interactive products and services will be marketed to Sears 39 million active credit cardholders nationwide. Simultaneously, Sears merchandise and services will be marketed to AOL’s 23 million members as well as visitors to its web-based brands. In addition, AOL will be Sears’ preferred online service provider, and a special co-branded edition of AOL with links to Sears will be developed. Exclusive offers will be extended to ‘Sears Premier Card’ holders, and Sears customers will have the option of paying for monthly AOL subscriptions with their ‘Sears Card’. In addition, AOL plans to develop a co-branded AOL Instant Messenger to enable consumers to initiate online, real-time communications with Sears customer service, as well as with friends, family and business colleagues.

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