Croatia Proton

Proton World and Croatia’s MBU signed agreements last week to make MBU a Proton licensee for Croatia. MBU is a consortium of 27 Croatian banks that manages and operates a network of ATMs and POS terminals. Under the agreement, MBU will start replacing existing POS terminals in February with new Java-based ‘C-ZAM/SMASH’ multi-application terminals from Banksys. MBU will begin to replace mag stripe cards with smart cards later this year.

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Natl Air & LatinPass

In Miami, National Airlines announced that it has joined the LatinPass frequent flyer program providing both LatinPass members as well as its own National Comps frequent flyers with increased air rewards.

The announcement was made at a breakfast by National Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Conway as the carrier celebrated its inaugural service between Miami and its Las Vegas hub.

LatinPass members traveling on National Airlines can include their LatinPass account numbers in their reservations and receive mileage credit in their LatinPass accounts. By mid-February, members of National Airlines’ frequent flyer program, National Comps, will be able to redeem their account points for travel on any of the Latin American carriers belonging to LatinPass. In addition, LatinPass members may redeem their LatinPass mileage for travel on National Airlines.

“As Miami is one of the major U.S. gateways to Latin America, it is fitting to make this exciting announcement here,” Conway stated. “With literally tens of thousands of LatinPass members residing in the U.S., we believe this agreement will benefit not only National Airlines, LatinPass partners and our respective frequent flyers, but cities such as Miami where many international connections to Latin America are made.”

Conway noted that the original National Airlines was based in Miami, and said, “We are well aware of the stellar reputation for customer service that the original National Airlines created and we are making every effort to live up to the standard they set.” The CEO then presented Irma Baker-Lyons with a scale model of the Las Vegas-based airline’s Boeing 757 aircraft. Baker-Lyons is the widow of the original National Airlines founder George T. (Ted) Baker.

“The addition of National Airlines to the all-star LatinPass lineup of member airlines is a welcome one,” said Robert C. Booth, Chairman of AvMan, creators and administrators of the LatinPass program. “National will conveniently link its hub of Las Vegas, the world-renowned entertainment center of the U.S., with key U.S. gateways for Latin American travelers, and do it in style and with outstanding onboard and ground service. All of us at LatinPass are excited with the new benefits National brings to our members.”

The Latin American member-carriers of LatinPass include: ACES, Aeropostal, Avianca, Aviateca, COPA, LACSA, NICA, SAETA, TACA and TACA-Peru. More information about LatinPass is available through its Web site at [www.latinpass.com][1].

With the initiation of service between Miami and Las Vegas on January 27, National Airlines now offers daily nonstop service to its Las Vegas hub from Chicago Midway, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The carrier operates an all-Boeing fleet of 757 jet aircraft, each equipped with 175 seats including 22 in first class.

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

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Smart Polish Cards

Poland’s Kredyt Bank is using IFS International’s ‘TPII’ system to support the issuance of VISA ‘Smart Debit Credit’. KB is one of the most advanced Polish banks with currently around 300,000 active cardholders, 500 ATMs and 1,000 EFT/POS devices. ‘TPII’ was originally installed at PBI in 1997, and since then the system has been significantly extended. Over the past 2 years since PBI’s merger with Kredyt Bank, the Bank embarked on a major customer-focused payment card strategy using ‘TPII’.

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Bull GSM

As the GSM World Congress opens this week in Cannes, France, Bull says it will announce that it has signed up more than ten GSM customers on three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Customers include Unicom in China, Centertel in Poland and Vodacom in South Africa. Under client contracts Bull Smart Cards & Terminals will develop a new card for third generation mobile phones; supply 32K Java cards for a number of European operators; develop Java applications for large European operators who are leaders in the deployment of this open system; and develop dedicated security mechanisms for SIM cards, allowing them to run banking applications.

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Internet ATMs

ATM cards and PINs will hit the Internet soon following a licensing agreement and strategic alliance between eFunds Corp. and eConnect . eConnect will use eFunds’ ‘CONNEX on IBM’, and ‘CONNEX Management System’ software to process ATM with PIN card transactions resulting from consumers running their cards through an eConnect card-reading device attached to their home computers and driven by the eConnect ‘Linux Transaction Server’. eConnect merchant customers in the Dominican Republic will be the first to benefit from the new service. The service is expected to expand to eConnect Ireland, eConnect Hong Kong, and eConnect Australia over the next few months. eFunds is a subsidiary of Deluxe Corp.

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GE Biz Marketplace

GE Capital announced this morning it is launching an Internet-based system that integrates corporate card program management and online purchasing for large-sized and medium-sized businesses and organizations. Available for a March beta release, the first module of the ‘GE Business Marketplace’ will support the administration of travel, purchasing and fleet vehicle corporate charge cards on a Web-based system hosted by GE Capital. The reporting module, called ‘GE NetReport’, allows users to access their accounts online and integrates to the customer’s general ledger system. In addition, the module supports exception reporting, automatically alerting managers to transactions that are outside of the customer’s business policies. In a future e-commerce release, the ‘GE Business Marketplace’ will support online business-to-business buying, custom catalog integration, and workflow approval. Transaction activity for travel, purchasing, and fleet card programs, as well as e-commerce transactions, will be integrated into the ‘GE NetReport’ reporting engine.

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FDC Record Year

First Data reported Thursday that its domestic merchant dollar volume processed grew 30% last year, from $252 billion to $328 billion. Total domestic transactions also soared from 4.5 billion to 5.8 billion. Merchant Processing Services posted 1999 pro forma consolidated revenues of $2.0 billion versus $1.8 billion for 1998, a 15% increase. At the end of 1999, FDC had 232.6 million domestic card accounts and 27.2 million international card accounts, on file. First Data also noted that it added 24,000 Internet merchants last year for a total of 72,000 online merchants. Dollar volume generated by identifiable Internet transactions grew 149% to $4.7 billion, while fourth quarter volume more than tripled. For complete 4Q and 1999 results for First Data please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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Metris Hispanic Card

Metris Companies and ADIR Financial Services, whose affiliate, La Curacao, is a southern California Hispanic-focused retailer, announced a co-brand credit card alliance Thursday. Under the terms of the alliance agreement, La Curacao will promote the ‘La Curacao MasterCard/VISA’ program to current and new La Curacao credit customers. Under a service contract with Metris’ Direct Merchants Bank, La Curacao, which currently operates two general merchandise retail locations in the Los Angeles area, will handle account origination, customer service and collections. Direct Merchants Bank will handle credit risk, fraud, and transaction processing. Approximately 6 million Hispanics currently live in the Los Angeles metro area, out of a total California Hispanic population of about 10 million.

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BlueLoot

American Express’ new ‘Blue’ card, which got off to a rocky start this past fall, has added a free rewards program. ‘BlueLoot’, which offers one point for each dollar charged, was officially introduced yesterday. The rewards program is entirely web-based. Cardholders register for the program, view point balances, browse the rewards catalogue and redeem for rewards, all online. Rewards include gift certificates for books and music, electronic equipment, sports, recreation and travel gear from 40 brand names. Appearing to the “techno-savvy hip”, the trendy rewards include PalmPilots and MP3 players. ‘BlueLoot Points’ will be awarded and posted to a cardholder’ account at the end of each billing cycle and monthly account statements will be viewable online and sent via e-mail. Points are good for three years from the last day of the calendar year in which they were earned. AmEx launched the ‘Blue’ card in September which features a translucent card with a chip. The card is aggressively priced with a six-month intro rate of 0% and no-annual-fee, followed by rates as lows as 9.99%. Although not disclosed, it is estimated AmEx has received more than one million applications for the card over the past four months. AmEx reportedly had production problems and delays with the card and the accompanying smart card reader.

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CyberCash 1999

CyberCash, Inc., the world’s leading provider of Internet payment services and electronic payment technologies, announced yesterday that revenues for the year ended December 31, 1999, rose to a record $20.3 million as the company continued to build upon its position as the top provider of electronic-payment products and services to both Internet merchants and traditional retailers, many of whom will eventually move into the online world.

Revenues for the fourth quarter of 1999 rose to a record $6.3 million, which represents a 43% increase over 1998’s fourth quarter revenues of $4.4 million and a 24% increase over the third quarter of 1999. In the company’s Internet services business, fourth quarter revenues rose 73% to $2.4 million from the same period a year ago. For the company’s payment software business, which provides electronic-payment software to retailers not yet online, fourth quarter revenues rose 17% to $3.1 million from the year-earlier period. Customization services accounted for the remaining $800,000 of fourth quarter revenues. CyberCash’s full-year revenues of $20.3 million represented an increase of 61% from $12.6 million in 1998.

CyberCash reported a fourth quarter 1999 loss, excluding a one-time restructuring charge of $775,000 related to a strategic workforce reduction, of $0.39 a share. This compares favorably to the First Call consensus estimate for a loss of $0.44 a share. For the fourth quarter of 1999, CyberCash’s net loss including the charge was $10.1 million, or $0.42 a share, compared with a net loss of $8.0 million, or $0.46 a share, in the same period a year ago. The net loss for full-year 1999 was $43.1 million, or $2.02 per share, compared with $30.9 million, or $2.15 a share, in 1998.

James J. Condon, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “In 1999, CyberCash continued to provide the very best in Internet and electronic- payment products and services to one of the world’s largest merchant bases. Our CashRegister Internet payment service processed an industry-leading 57 million transactions in 1999. And our payment software business provided a superior platform to a huge base of retailers — a platform that can seamlessly allow them to enter the e-tailing world. We are committed to the creation of shareholder value through a clear focus on financial performance, superior technology and world-class execution.”

Added Condon: “CyberCash’s 1999 was a year of progress as much as promise, as our third- and fourth-quarter results exceeded even our own expectations. Key relationships with IBM and Concentric helped build our CashRegister Internet service business. The acquisition of Tellan Software brought the ability to expand the product offerings in our payment software business. And we filled out our management team with a group of seasoned and talented executives in finance, marketing and operations. With this team in place, and with the technology, infrastructure, relationships and brand equity we have built, CyberCash is uniquely positioned to take full advantage of the explosion in online transactions that is expected to take place over the next few years.”

Key Metrics

Some key growth metrics from 1999:

* Internet service transactions increased 197% to a record 22.6 million in the fourth quarter, a sequential increase of 54% from the third quarter of 1999.

* For the full year, the company processed 57.4 million transactions, up from 29.6 million in 1998.

* CashRegister Internet service revenues rose 110% for the full year.

* CyberCash’s Internet merchant base more than doubled to 19,400 by year-end 1999, from 9,200 at the end of 1998.

* We are now providing payment services to an increasing number of large, well-known Internet merchants including Toysrus.com, McAfee.com, DVDExpress.com and SmarterKids.com.

* CyberCash’s leading payment software products have been shipped to more than 130,000 merchants, by far the largest installed base in the industry.

* Software revenues increased 65% for full-year 1999.

Dennis N. Cavender, Chief Financial Officer, said: “CyberCash’s fundamental business metrics continue to improve as we move into the year 2000. Our goals are to grow revenues even faster, continue to improve gross margins and gain additional cost efficiencies. The growth rate of CyberCash’s Internet services suggests a bright future for this business as e-retailing becomes a mass-market phenomenon, and our payment software business continues to expand at an impressive rate and represent a powerful cash producer for the company as a whole.”

CyberCash is rescinding its shelf registration on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission due to its strong cash position going into the new year, and does not anticipate the need to raise additional funds for working capital.

Internet Services

The CashRegister Internet service business took a number of steps forward in 1999 that will allow it to take full advantage of the explosion in online transactions expected in the first half of this decade. Not only is CyberCash the largest provider of Internet payment services, it pioneered this space and has one of the largest merchant bases in the industry.

CyberCash announced in November that the CashRegister Internet service would be featured in Concentric Network Corporation’s e-commerce retail packages, which are available at Staples superstores nationwide. Concentric is an industry leader in offering small- and medium-sized merchants the tools to succeed in e-commerce, and CyberCash considers this partnership to be an extremely valuable and profitable endeavor going forward.

Also in November, CyberCash announced an extension of its relationship with IBM to offer the CashRegister service to medium-sized enterprises through IBM’s WebSphere Payment Manager. This will allow for the secure Internet processing of credit cards by WebSphere, and represents yet another important brand-name alliance for CyberCash.

In the important growth area of Internet payment processing, earlier in the year CyberCash announced an alliance to offer HNC Software, Inc.’s state-of-the-art eFalcon Internet fraud detection service to its entire base of Internet merchants. HNC is the leading provider of online fraud protection software, and with the HNC partnership CyberCash will be able to make its industry leading Internet payment service an even more complete solution for online retailers and those who are contemplating the move online.

Other 1999 innovations in CyberCash’s Internet service business included the incorporation of its innovative InstaBuy one-click shopping service as an integral part of the CashRegister service, an alliance with Compaq Computer Corporation to include CyberCash’s solutions across current and future e-commerce offerings, and an alliance with EarthLink to provide payment services for its electronic commerce offering, TotalCommerce.

Payment Software

CyberCash’s payment software business also made great strides during the quarter. With the largest installed base in the industry, CyberCash’s ICVERIFY family of products has become the preferred choice of merchants looking to take greater control of their electronic transaction processing. It also provides a single platform for those retailers that plan to move online and transition to CyberCash’s Internet service.

In June, CyberCash announced the acquisition of Tellan Software, Inc., consolidating CyberCash’s dominance in the electronic payment software market. Tellan produces payment-processing software for Internet commerce, as well as global enterprises that want to consolidate disparate payment applications into a central platform. Tellan’s leading brands include MacAuthorize, PCAuthorize and WebAuthorize, and by combining the best of both companies’ software, CyberCash intends to extend its lead as producer of the world’s most highly functional and reliable way to make electronic payments.

About CyberCash

CyberCash, Inc., the world’s leading provider of Internet payment services and electronic payment technologies, is a pioneer in payment software and solutions spanning both the e-commerce and physical world markets. CyberCash today has more than 20,000 Internet merchant customers, over 130,000 physical world software products shipped and solutions that are delivered as either software or services. CyberCash offers the broadest reach in the payment industry with a comprehensive distribution network that includes direct selling as well as marketing partnerships with financial institutions, Internet service providers, application service providers and storefront solution providers.

For more information on CyberCash please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

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

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Venezuela Gets Iced

Conexus is piloting Hypercom ePic ICE 5000 touch screen-based payment terminals to support more than 200 service stations in Venezuela. The pilot is the first expansion of ePic ICE into the oil and gas industry. The number of terminal devices initially planned is 500. Conexus is the largest bank network system in Venezuela, serving Banco Mercantil, Banco Union, Corp Banca, Interbank and other institutions. Venezuela is the seventh largest market in terms of total credit card transactions.

“Hypercom’s ePic ICE 5000 card payment terminal provides service stations fast, more secure and reliable card payment transaction capabilities and the ability to quickly and easily accommodate emerging payment options and business opportunities,” said Juan Guilarte, General Manager, Conexus. “The ePic ICE 5000 enables customers to transact business with minimum errors.”

Packed with value-added features, Hypercom’s ICE 5000 is a powerful, multi-function touch screen-based payment terminal incorporating a high-speed thermal printer, paper cutter, and Hypercom 9600 bits per second (bps) FastPOS modem technology that lets merchants complete transactions in under six seconds. When used in concert with Hypercom’s e-commerce web merchant-hosting software, it cost effectively bridges physical retail payments and web-based e-commerce. ePic (ePOS-infocommerce(TM)) enables merchants to support a range of Internet-based functions via ICE terminals and allows them to set up centrally hosted web stores which can be operated via the terminal. ePic supports e-mail, on-screen advertising, interactive electronic coupons, interactive loyalty, electronic receipt capture, branding programs and e-commerce — in addition to traditional secure payment processing functions.

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC) is a global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com][1].

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

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Providian Donates to Consumer Action

Consumer Action announced Thursday that it received a $50,000 grant from Providian Financial in support of its Healthy Children Organizing Project. This new partnership directs funds toward a critical issue in children’s health and well-being.

Consumer Action, a nonprofit advocacy and education organization that has served consumers since 1971, has a national reputation for multilingual consumer education and advocacy in the fields of credit, banking, insurance, utilities and HMOs. Perhaps less well-known is Consumer Action’s advocacy on behalf of San Francisco’s children through its Healthy Children Organizing Project. The Project, founded in 1990 and originally called the Lead Poisoning Prevention Project, helps San Francisco’s low and moderate income communities of color to build their capacity to educate parents and care givers about how to raise healthy children.

Once focused mainly on preventing childhood lead poisoning, the Healthy Children Organizing Project is beginning to extend its efforts to protecting children from other preventable diseases and conditions, including asthma, malnutrition and tooth decay. The Project works with numerous child and health care, community, public interest, nonprofit affordable housing, economic opportunity and other community-based groups. “Our goal is clear: We want a city full of healthy children,” stated Neil Gendel, Project Director. “Our Project is engaged in one of the country’s most effective efforts to help low and moderate income communities of color have healthy children and decent housing. Funding from new sources like Providian enables us to continue our record of success.”

“Healthy children have a much better chance of doing well in school, developing to their full potential, and living rich adult lives,” said Jim Wunderman, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Providian. “Consumer Action and the Healthy Children Organizing Project are making strides toward improving the well-being of San Francisco’s kids and we support that 100%.”

San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation ([http://www.providian.com][1]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products and one of the Bay Area’s largest employers. For years, Providian has made financial contributions to nonprofit organizations in the communities where its employees live and work. In recent years, Providian has contributed millions of dollars to child-related causes nationwide, focusing much of that activity on programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Aware that Providian directs a major portion of its overall funding toward programs that address child care and other issues affecting children, Consumer Action asked Providian for funds to support its Healthy Children Organizing Project.

About the Healthy Children Organizing Project

The Healthy Children Organizing Project (HCOP), a program of Consumer Action, helps San Francisco’s low and moderate income communities of color build their capacity to educate parents and care givers about how to have healthy children. Working in conjunction with numerous educational, public health, children’s service, and governmental agencies, as well as property owners, contractors, and other interested constituencies, HCOP protects children from lead poisoning and other preventable diseases.

About Consumer Action

Consumer Action (CA) is a pioneering non-profit advocacy and education organization that has served consumers since 1971. CA has a national reputation for multilingual education in the fields of credit, banking and telecommunications. CA distributes more than one million free multilingual publications, runs a hotline providing free, non-legal advice and referrals on a wide range of issues, in Chinese, English and Spanish, and provides a variety of free consumer education material on its Web site at [http://www.consumer-action.org][2].

About Providian Financial

San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation ([http://www.providian.com][3]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers nationwide and also offers credit cards in the United Kingdom. Providian serves a broad, diversified market with loan products that include credit cards, home equity loans, secured cards and membership services. With a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, Providian’s mission is to help its customers build or rebuild, protect and responsibly use credit by providing a quality borrowing experience that leads to active and lasting customer relationships. Providian has $23 billion in assets under management and over 12 million customers.

[1]: http://www.providian.com/
[2]: http://www.consumer-action.org/
[3]: http://www.providian.com/

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