Free ATMs

Houston-based CompuBank, the first virtual national bank, launched an Internet service to provide consumers with a comprehensive list of surcharge-free ATMs throughout the continental United States. ‘FreeATMs.com’ offers consumers a way to find surcharge-free ATMs by simply clicking on a state and by a search function based on bank name, street address, city, state or zip code. Consumers also have the option to map a specific ATM location. CompuBank refunds other banks’ ATM surcharges for its customers, up to four per month at $1.50 each.

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Planet Payment

Cable & Wireless and Planet Payment have partnered to provide a commerce switch to route credit card transactions to credit card processors worldwide. This will enable Internet merchants to accept credit cards online in most currencies. The platform will initially connect to Bank of Bermuda’s new multi-currency credit card processing system. The wholesale processing platform will also enable banks to offer multi-currency-processing services to their merchants seeking to accept credit cards on the Internet.

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Merchant Index

NextCard’s monthly ‘eCommerce Index’ indicates strong pre-holiday online shopping activity. Amazon.com, AOL, and Barnesandnoble.com ranked as three top merchants of the Internet for October. NextCard says EToys has moved rapidly onto its top 25 list of the most active web merchants. Pets.com showed a 684% in transaction volume last month, ranking it #1 on NextCard’s ‘e-Commerce Movers’.

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SCSUG

American Express, Europay International, MasterCard International, Mondex International and Visa International announced Thursday a new initiative to create common security guidelines for the smart card industry. The initiative includes the formation of the Smart Card Security Users Group, coordinated by the US National Information Assurance Partnership, and with the cooperation of the international Common Criteria Management Committee. The group will share information on security threats and security requirements, focusing on both chip hardware and smart card operating systems. The first goal of the group is to produce a ‘Protection Profile’ for smart cards.

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Gemplus Partnership

Baltimore Technologies and Gemplus announced both the integration of their technologies and a sales and marketing agreement. Baltimore has incorporated Gemplus ‘GemSAFE’ smart cards into its PKI solutions portfolio, offering customers the choice of using this integrated technology for added security and manageability in a variety of e-commerce applications. Baltimore products such as ‘UniCERT’, ‘MailSecure’ and ‘PKI-Plus’ will support Gemplus ‘GemSAFE’ smart cards in future versions.

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Green Xmas

American shoppers will spend $1,558 for gifts, entertaining, decorations and travel during the upcoming holiday season. The annual American Express Retail Index says US consumers will crank up spending by 16% this year, marking the highest annual growth in holiday spending since the survey was introduced in 1995. Of the 800 consumers surveyed, 26% said they planned to use the Internet in some way this holiday season. Among those who said they will shop on-line, almost half (42%), say it is their first time using the Internet to buy holiday gifts. For those who said they will not shop on-line, 47% cited not having access to a computer or the Internet; 21% said they prefer to actually see the item; while others are concerned about online security (20%), privacy (16%), and return policies (10%). The AmEx survey indicates shoppers will use a combination of cash (89%), checks (45%), credit cards (59%), and ATM/debit cards (16%) to pay for holiday purchases. Of those using credit cards, 52% will pay the total balance when the bill arrives. In addition, 24% of credit card users said they are using plastic to pay for purchases in order to earn reward points for their holiday spending, while 12% plan to redeem credit card reward program points to obtain gifts. AmEx says this year’s hottest toy is Pokemon.

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DataSafe Marketing

Two industry veterans have joined to form a new enhancement and loyalty service firm called: DataSafe Marketing, LLC. Bob May, former president/CEO of Credit Card Sentinel, and Jim Rothe, former EVP of Credentials Services, established the firm with offices in Delaware and Los Angeles. The new company offers card issuers fee-based enhancement services such as credit card protection, credit report monitoring, travel-related programs, and other loyalty programs. However the firm says it can market its fee services to cardholders without the need for the card issuer to release cardholder names or other account information.

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Oct Store Sales Rise

Retailers received more treats than tricks this October, as same-store sales for the month rose 3.7 percent over the same period last year, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. The Midwest region led the nation, followed by the Southwest and West (tied), the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast and the Southeast. The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same- store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 210,000 subscribing locations. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based First Data Corp.

“Spending for Halloween has been steadily growing over the past few years and has become a major holiday shopping period for consumers. Retailers also are benefiting from the continued strength of the economy. Given the current state of the economy and the pace of consumer spending, we anticipate a 3- to 5-percent same-store sales gain for the 28-day Christmas shopping season,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Advisor.

Sales in the Midwest climbed 5.5 percent, with jumps of 5.7 percent in Wisconsin and Minnesota, 5.3 percent in Illinois and Ohio, and 5.2 percent in Michigan. Sales grew by 5.8 percent in Milwaukee, 5.3 percent in Minneapolis/St. Paul, 5.5 percent in Chicago, 5.6 percent in Cleveland and 5.7 percent in Detroit.

The Southwest’s and West’s sales rose 3.9 percent. In the Southwest, Texas’ sales climbed 4.5 percent, and both Oklahoma’s and Missouri’s rose 3.5 percent. Sales grew 5.1 percent in Austin, 5.0 percent in San Antonio, 4.7 percent in Houston and 4.4 percent in Dallas/Fort Worth. Sales rose 3.4 percent in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and grew 3.6 percent in Kansas City and 3.4 percent in St. Louis.

In the West, Hawaii jumped 5.5 percent, Colorado climbed 3.9 percent, Arizona increased 3.8 percent, California grew 3.4 percent and Washington rose 3.3 percent. Sales were up 3.5 percent in Denver, 3.4 percent in Phoenix and 3.5 percent in Portland. San Diego’s sales climbed 3.9 percent, the Bay Area’s rose 3.4 percent, Los Angeles’ grew 3.3 percent and Seattle’s increased 3.5 percent.

Sales rose 3.6 percent in the Mid-Atlantic, with Maryland up 3.9 percent, Pennsylvania up 3.6 percent, and New Jersey and Virginia up 3.4 percent. Sales grew 4.1 percent in the District of Columbia, 4.0 percent in Baltimore, 3.8 percent in Philadelphia and 3.5 percent in Pittsburgh.

The Northeast’s sales increased 2.3 percent. New York was up by 3.9 percent and Massachusetts grew 0.6 percent. New York City’s sales climbed 4.0 percent and Boston’s rose 0.8 percent.

The Southeast region grew by 2.1 percent. Sales rose 3.7 percent in Tennessee, 2.4 percent in The Carolinas, 2.0 percent in Louisiana, 1.8 percent in Georgia and 1.5 percent in Florida. Memphis’ sales grew 3.5 percent, Nashville’s rose 3.3 percent, New Orleans’ increased 2.0 percent and Atlanta’s grew 2.2 percent. Sales were up 2.6 percent in Orlando and 2.1 percent in Tampa, but fell 2.2 percent in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.

TeleCheck’s index is compiled on a calendar basis and is based on the total sales volume of check-writing consumers at a broad cross-section of retailers. Figures are not adjusted for inflation. Checks account for approximately 37 percent of retail spending. In 1998, TeleCheck authorized over $112 billion in checks and processed more than 2.2 billion check inquiries.

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. For more information, please visit the company’s web site at [http://www.firstdatacorp.com][1].

Dr. William Ford holds the Weatherford Chair of Finance at Middle Tennessee State University. Earlier in his career he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and served on former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker’s Federal Open Market Committee.

Retail Sales
(Period: 10/1/99-10/31/99)
November 4, 1999

NATIONAL 3.7%

SOUTHEAST 2.1% WEST 3.9% MIDWEST 5.5%
Florida 1.5% Arizona 3.8% Illinois 5.3%
Miami/ Phoenix 3.4% Chicago 5.5%
Ft. Lauderdale -2.2%
Orlando 2.6% California 3.4% Michigan 5.2%
Tampa 2.1% Bay Area 3.4% Detroit 5.7%
Louisiana 2.0% Los Angeles 3.3% Minnesota 5.7%
New Orleans 2.0% San Diego 3.9% Minneapolis/
St. Paul 5.3%
Georgia 1.8% Oregon 3.7% Wisconsin 5.7%
Atlanta 2.2% Portland 3.5% Milwaukee 5.8%
Tennessee 3.7% Washington 3.3% Ohio 5.3%
Memphis 3.5% Seattle 3.5% Cleveland 5.6%
Nashville 3.3% Colorado 3.9%
The Carolinas 2.4% Denver 3.5% MID-ATLANTIC 3.6%
Hawaii 5.5% District of
Columbia 4.1%
SOUTHWEST 3.9% Pennsylvania 3.6%
Texas 4.5% NORTHEAST 2.3% Philadelphia 3.8%
Austin 5.1% Massachusetts 0.6% Pittsburgh 3.5%
Dallas/Ft. Worth 4.4% Boston 0.8% New Jersey 3.4%
Houston 4.7% New York 3.9% Virginia 3.4%
San Antonio 5.0% New York City 4.0% Maryland 3.9%
Missouri 3.5% Baltimore 4.0%
Kansas City 3.6%
St. Louis 3.4%
Oklahoma 3.5%
Oklahoma City 3.4%
Tulsa 3.4%

SOURCE TeleCheck Services, Inc.

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

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NDC Signs BC/BS Ma

NDC eCommerce today announced an agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) to deliver end-to- end credit card and check processing services for BCBSMA’s extensive network of health care providers.

Under the agreement, NDC eCommerce will provide credit card authorization and settlement resolution, as well as check guarantee and recovery services. BCBSMA serves thousands of providers including primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, and health care facilities and offers enhanced products and services that satisfy rising patient expectations.

“BCBSMA is very pleased to be working with NDC eCommerce to offer our providers NDC’s value-added payment support services. These services fit perfectly with our goal of providing our members and providers with services and technology that help reduce medical operating expenses and that simplify and streamline business transactions,” said Thomas B. Allen, product support manager – Provider Technology Group for BCBSMA.

This agreement also expands and enhances BCBSMA’s services to health care providers by combining NDC’s electronic commerce solutions for payment processing with BCBSMA’s HealthWire(R) and Point of Service Device networks, health care eligibility, managed care and all-payer claims processing services the company has provided since 1992.

“We are delighted BCBSMA has chosen NDC to provide members and providers solutions that complement financial and practice management systems and help reduce provider risk,” said Paul R. Garcia, NDC eCommerce CEO.

National Data Corporation (NYSE: NDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce solutions and health information services that add value to customer operations.

This document may contain forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s operations, current and future performance and financial condition. These items involve risks and uncertainties such as product demand, market and customer acceptance, the effect of economic conditions, competition, pricing, development difficulties, the ability to consummate and integrate acquisitions, and other risks detailed in the Company’s SEC filings. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise any of these statements to reflect future circumstances or the occurrence of unanticipated events.

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Oberthur Leadership

Oberthur Card Systems, as a result of its recent acquisition of De La Rue Card Systems, has become the world’s largest microprocessor smart card producer. Oberthur card sales volumes are estimated to reach $120 million for FY 99 and will include the production of more than 192 million mag stripe cards and 14 million smart cards. The acquisition has quadrupled Oberthur’s annual revenues from $125 million to $490 million. The firm now employs nearly 3,000 people with half of the employees working from six U.S. locations. Oberthur’s $318 million acquisition of De La Rue’s smart card division was finalized Oct. 1.

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