Metris Projections

Metris Companies announced Thursday it expects earnings per share for the first quarter to range from $0.70 to $0.75 per share. The increase in expectations is driven in part by stronger revenues from both the credit card and fee-based businesses, stronger margins and improved credit quality than earlier estimated. Metris also increased its earnings guidance for full year 2000 to $2.80 to $2.85 per share.

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eCashP2P

eCash Technologies yesterday announced ‘eCash P2P’, a person-to-person e-mail payment service. ‘eCash P2P’ is available for immediate implementation by financial institutions serving the United States. Already deployed in Germany through a partnership with Deutsche Bank 24, the ‘eCash’ person-to-person solution is a payment product that can be installed directly at financial institutions or accessed seamlessly through a hosted service.

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Vital Update

Vital Processing Services announced the launch of POS-partner 2000, a PC-based point-of-sale software product that enables retailers and direct marketers to accept and process many kinds of payment vehicles from multiple point-of-sale venues, and to capitalize on the information gathering as part of the payment process. Vital Processing Services also announced it has expanded its integrated debit solution to include EBT processing at the merchant point-of-sale. Finally, Vital announced the promotion of Barb Gregg to SVP of product development.

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eCashPads

eConnect will announce this morning an agreement to supply 1,000 free ‘eCashPads’ to Kanakaris Communications. eConnect also announced this week it has structured a licensing arrangement with PalmPilot to enable first-ever wireless hand-held Internet terminal transactions. The eConnect ‘eCashPad’ simply attaches to the consumer’s computer keyboard, enabling Kanakaris customers to download entertainment programs with a card swiped “bank eyes only” cash ATM card and PIN payment or a credit card payment, whereby Kanakaris Communications never sees the credit card data nor is the credit card stored at the KKRS Web site. eConnect says it expects to distribute 100,000 ‘eCashPads’ to major Internet business sites. The PalmPilot deal is part of a joint venture deal with FL-based Pilot Island Publishing’s ‘PocketPay’ solution. EConnect’s has been a high-flying stock this week.

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Emerging Markets

MasterCard said Thursday that the public sector and recurring payments represent huge growth opportunities for payments cards in the next few years. Out of annual Federal and State tax payments of almost $450 billion, today only one percent is paid using payment cards. Similarly, only five percent of the $37 billion Americans spend at the Post Office each year is paid using payment cards, and two percent of the $14 billion collected by Motor Vehicle offices around the country. Utility bills, cable TV, insurance, Internet service providers, and newspaper delivery are areas where recurring payments are now popular. On-line services now account for 80 percent of recurring payments. MasterCard’s research shows that 56 percent of current credit card users would consider recurring payments for other bills. Nineteen percent of those not participating in recurring payments would at least consider a trial using their credit card.

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SafeDebit

QSI Payments launched the ‘SafeDebit’ credit card issuance system, which allows consumers to securely pay for purchases on the Internet with funds withdrawn directly from their checking or savings accounts. The development of the ‘SafeDebit’ system is the result of a strategic partnership with NYCE Corp. By relying on a CD-ROM card and an electronic personal identification number, ‘SafeDebit’ enables secure purchase transactions anytime, anywhere from any PC that has Internet access and a mini-disk capable CD-ROM drive. Upon virtual checkout, consumers insert their ‘SafeDebit’ cards into the computer’s CD-ROM drive and enter the e-PIN provided by their financial institutions.

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DoD Smart Cards

Datakey, Inc. and CyberTrust announced they will provide their information security technologies to the Department of Defense for its ‘Commercial PKI Security Assessment Pilot’. The one-year pilot program, which will be implemented by General Dynamics Communication Systems, is designed to help the DoD evaluate the feasibility of having commercial organizations provide high-assurance (Class 4) digital certificates to the DoD and other government agencies. Datakey smart cards form an important component of the DoD pilot because Class-4 certificates must be stored on cryptographic hardware tokens such as smart cards. A private key, the private portion of a user’s digital credentials, is generated and permanently stored on the Datakey smart card, and all encryption using the private key is performed on the card so the key is never available for someone to steal or copy.

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PC Pay Acquisition

MerchantOnline.com Inc. announced today it has agreed to acquire 90.1% of Phoenix-based Innovonics Inc. in exchange for five million shares of MerchantOnline.com common stock. Innovonics invented, developed and manufactures the ‘PC Pay’ card-swiping device that plugs into personal computers. The ‘PC Pay’ device, which accepts ATM, debit, credit and smart cards, incorporates a patented encryption technology. The patented technology used in the PC Pay device is unique in the world of eCommerce, in that sensitive information is encrypted within the secure device, about the size of a PC mouse, before entering the potentially vulnerable PC.

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e-Signia

IVI Checkmate Corp. announced the release of ‘e-Signia, a comprehensive image capture and retrieval solution that significantly reduces operating expenses associated with handling and retrieving credit card receipts. ‘e-Signia’ assist retailers in reducing the expenses, penalties and losses that result from credit card chargebacks. ‘e-Signia’ is now available and is being sold through IVI Checkmate’s direct salesforce and their value-added reseller network to supermarket, department store, mass merchandise, discount store and specialty retail chains throughout North America.

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NextCard Network

NextCard and E-Commerce Exchange yesterday announced a reciprocal marketing agreement to reach the 40,000 NextCard Affiliates and 30,000 E-Commerce Exchange Merchants and Affiliates. Under the terms of the agreement, NextCard will offer merchant accounts to its Affiliates and customers. In addition, ECX will offer their merchant customers and extensive network of Affiliates the opportunity to apply for and re-sell the NextCard Internet VISA.

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Planet Payment Gateway

Authorize.Net and Planet Payment have launched a joint venture to provide end-to-end payment solutions for online merchants located outside of the U.S. and U.S.-based merchants who wish to implement a non-U.S. or multi-currency Internet payment solution. The venture will be marketed under the ‘Planet Payment’ brand, and will be powered by Authorize.Net. The ‘Planet Payment Gateway’ and Planet Payment’s Internet payment solutions will allow online merchants everywhere the ability to accept credit card payments in more than 140 currencies. The gateway is scheduled to be available in early April. Authorize.Net currently provides payment solutions for more than 65,000 online merchants.

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CardBASE Funds

Dublin, Ireland-based CardBASE Technologies announced the closing this week of additional investment in the company of US$7.7m. This latest fundraising values the company at approximately US$46m. The main shareholders now include founder and CEO, Aonghus Geraghty, ICC, Denis O’Brien, JAFCO, Gemplus, Enterprise Ireland, members of the management team and a number of private investors.

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