MetroCard Machines

The MTA New York City Transit, yesterday, awarded Cubic Transportation Systems a $17.8 million contract to produce a smaller, compact version of ‘MetroCard Vending Machines’ that are being installed throughout the New York subway system. The smaller ‘MetroCard Refill Machines’ provide credit/debit payment-only capability for subway and bus riders to reload time or value on their reusable ‘MetroCards’. The new machines are designed to complement the full-service ‘MetroCard Vending Machines’ that provide coin and bill handling capabilities, as well as credit/debit payment for purchasing or reloading ‘MetroCards’. By the end of 2000, it is planned that a total of 2,594 ticketing machines will be installed throughout the New York transit system, of which more than 1,000 will be the MRM design. The new machines will also be contactless smart card ready.



TeleCheck Services introduced yesterday the first integrated payment terminal capable of imaging checks at the point of sale. ‘Eclipse’ reads the check MICR line both magnetically and optically. ‘Eclipse’ also accommodates credit cards, debit cards and smart cards. In addition to imaging, other new features include a faster modem and a combination roll/slip inkjet printer capable of printing receipts and information on checks. The new terminal was jointly developed with VeriFone. The terminal’s imaging capabilities enhance the TeleCheck ‘Electronic Check Acceptance’ service, a paper check conversion process that converts MICR information into electronic items, which are processed through the ACH network. ‘Eclipse’ will be available through TeleCheck’s sales & marketing force and through First Data Merchant Services.


Dog Phone Card

Toronto-based Phonetime International introduced a new, double-sized die-cut prepaid phone card in the shape of ‘Puffy the Dog’, the animal character from the 20th Century Fox movie “There’s Something About Mary.” The new phone card will be cross-promoted with Blockbuster Canada. Since August of last year, Phonetime has supplied private label phone cards to Blockbuster. The new dog card is the third such venture with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Canada Ltd. Phonetime has previously developed a long-distance, prepaid phone card with an ‘X-Files’ theme. The card featured a voice-over from the co-star David Duchovny and ‘X-Files’ theme music, when the customer called in. Phonetime also developed a card based on the movie “Ever After” with lead star Drew Barrymore.


Bank Plus Update

Bank Plus Corporation reported that as of July 31, 1999 total outstanding balances in the credit card portfolio of its wholly-owned subsidiary Fidelity Federal Bank, FSB, were $271.9 million, a net decrease of $8.0 million from the June 30, 1999 balances, and total delinquencies were 21.0% compared to 20.4% at June 30, 1999.

Delinquencies under the MMG Direct, Inc. program were 20.2% at July 31, 1999, unchanged from the June 30, 1999 percentage level while delinquencies under the American Direct Credit, Inc. portfolio increased from 23.7% at June 30, 1999 to 24.7% at July 31, 1999.

Mark K. Mason, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “As anticipated, the group of accounts responsible for the second-quarter 1999 spike in delinquencies in the ADC portfolio continues to work its way through the delinquency buckets, with delinquencies in the 30 to 59 day bucket peaking in both dollar and percentage terms in May, those in the 60 to 89 day bucket peaking in June and those in the 90 to 119 day bucket peaking in July. Early stage ADC delinquencies (accounts less than 30 days delinquent), which stood at 11.4% at March 31, 1999, have now recovered to below prior levels, decreasing to 10.8% at July 31, 1999. Providing current trends continue, we expect this spike to continue to move through the delinquency buckets over the coming months.”

Bank Plus Corporation is the holding company for Fidelity Federal Bank, FSB, which offers a broad range of consumer financial services, including demand and time deposits and mortgage loans. In addition, through its affiliate Gateway Investment Services, Inc., a NASD-registered broker/dealer, Fidelity provides customers of the Bank with investment products, including mutual funds, annuities and insurance. Fidelity operates through 36 full-service branches, 35 of which are located in Southern California, principally in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Outstanding Credit Card Balances
As of July 31, 1999
(Dollars in thousands)

MMG ADC All Total

Current Balances $92,703 $94,182 $27,894 $214,779
Delinquent Balances :
30 to 59 days 6,100 7,152 1,576 14,828
60 to 89 days 4,953 6,588 630 12,171
90 to 119 days 4,737 7,155 468 12,360
120 to 149 days 4,397 6,168 34 10,599
150 days and over 3,273 3,857 — 7,130
Total Delinquencies 23,460 30,920 2,708 57,088

Total Balances $116,163 $125,102 $30,602 $271,867

Delinquency %
30 to 59 days 5.2% 5.7% 5.2% 5.4%
60 to 89 days 4.3% 5.3% 2.1% 4.5%
90 to 119 days 4.1% 5.7% 1.5% 4.6%
120 to 149 days 3.8% 4.9% 0.1% 3.9%
150 days and over 2.8% 3.1% 0.0% 2.6%
Total 20.2% 24.7% 8.9% 21.0%

Available Credit $19,298 $28,328 $6,753 $54,379

Outstanding ADC Credit Card Balances
(Dollars in thousands)

7/31/99 6/30/99 3/31/99

Current Balances $94,182 $98,701 $122,989
Delinquent Balances :
30 to 59 days 7,152 8,212 5,529
60 to 89 days 6,588 8,113 4,012
90 to 119 days 7,155 6,764 4,245
120 to 149 days 6,168 4,487 3,431
150 days and over * 3,857 3,121 —
Total Delinquencies 30,920 30,697 17,217

Total Balances $125,102 $129,398 $140,206

Delinquency %
30 to 59 days 5.7% 6.3% 3.9%
60 to 89 days 5.3% 6.3% 2.9%
90 to 119 days 5.7% 5.2% 3.0%
120 to 149 days 4.9% 3.5% 2.5%
150 days and over * 3.1% 2.4% —
Total 24.7% 23.7% 12.3%

* Following the transfer of the servicing of the portfolio from ADC to Bank Plus in April 1999, ADC’s contractual charge-off policy was conformed to Fidelity’s charge-off policy, increasing the charge-off period from 150 to 180 days.


MasterCard India

Outside of China, the nation with the most potential for payment card development is India. This morning MasterCard and Citibank are introducing the ‘Citibank MasterCard Electronic Credit Card’ in India. The new credit card requires electronic authorization for all transactions and thus provides Citibank with cardholder credit limit management. Merchants must have an EDC terminal to read the mag-striped card. The new features an option for truncated account numbers on the face of the card and a new specially designed MasterCard Electronic brand logo on the card face. MasterCard has also produced a new acceptance mark for the ‘MasterCard Electronic’ card to be displayed via decals at all EDC-equipped acceptance locations in India. MasterCard was India’s first credit card and the country’s first deposit access program via ‘Maestro’.


TSYS Promotes Tye

Total System Services, Inc. Friday announced the promotion of Kenneth Tye, from Senior Vice President to Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer. In his new role, Tye will report to TSYS President Philip W. Tomlinson and will be responsible for all aspects of technical operations and programming.

A 28-year TSYS veteran, Tye has played a major role in shaping the Company’s technology initiatives and innovations. Most notably, Tye led the 200-person team responsible for building TS2(R), the industry’s most technologically advanced payments processing system built in the mid ’90s.

TSYS Chairman and CEO Richard W. Ussery said, “Ken has distinguished himself as a leader who has consistently produced superior results. His wealth of knowledge and expertise along with efficiencies we will realize by combining operations and programming under one individual will continue to help us thrive in this fiercely competitive marketplace. One of Tye’s responsibilities will be to continue to tune the TS2 software to lower our operating costs in 2000 and beyond. We’re proud to add him to the Total System executive team.”

Tye has held numerous leadership positions throughout the Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) family of companies. In 1971, Tye joined Columbus Bank and Trust Company (CB&T) as an assistant computer operator in the Data Processing division. He later joined TSYS and has held numerous positions including assistant systems officer, assistant vice president and systems officer, vice president and systems officer, and senior vice president, director of management information systems

A 1971 graduate of Columbus Technical Institute, Tye received his degree in data processing. A past vice president of the Data Processing Management Association, Tye has also served on the Columbus Area Vocational Technical School Board, the Columbus State University Advisory Board, the MasterCard Technical Advisory Group and the Visa Development Advisory Committee.

TSYS is one of the world’s leading information technology processors of data, transactions and payments for domestic and international issuers of credit, debit, commercial and private-label cards. TSYS’ sophisticated systems offer online accounting, data processing, electronic commerce services, portfolio management, account acquisition, credit evaluation, risk management and customer service. Through their family of companies, TSYS services the entire lifecycle of card accounts and processes more than 194.6 million accounts, making it possible for an estimated 272 million cardholders to use their cards any time, anywhere. Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., TSYS ([][1] ) is an 80.8 percent owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. ([][2]) named the Best Company to Work for in America by FORTUNE magazine.



VeriPass Pilot

CA-based On Track Innovations confirmed this morning that field trials are being conducted with ‘VeriPass’, a new solution offered by VeriFone that incorporates contactless smart card technology from OTI. The ‘VeriPass’ system is similar to Mobil’s ‘Speedpass’ system. Customers pre-designate the card payment method which is then programmed onto a small key fob, which can be attached to the customer’s car key ring. The ‘VeriPass’ system is the only system of its kind that is adaptable to any dispenser that interfaces with the ‘Ruby SuperSystem’, even, potentially, those without card readers. The field trials are testing ease of use and customer purchase patterns. Ultimately, ‘VeriPass’ will enable cash values to be stored on the fob, and also will allow gas-station and convenience-store owners to develop loyalty, frequency and coupon programs. OTI says more locations are slated for start up during the next few months.


Infrared Terminals

Anritsu Corp. will introduce in October a debit-card-reading terminal with a separate input keypad and base deck which communicates via infrared beams.

The cordless design is intended to provide consumers with increased privacy and security when entering personal identification numbers.

The debit card service, which began in Japan in January, is growing more popular, particularly among major department stores and airlines.

Anritsu aims to sell 200,000 units over the next three years and to realize sales of about 5 billion yen a year.


Gold Points

Carlson Companies’ subsidiary, Gold Points Corp., announced Friday that National Car Rental will join its ‘Gold Points’ program effective Oct. 1. All U.S. National Car Rental locations will award ‘Gold Points’ at a rate of 350 ‘Gold Points’ per rental day. ‘Gold Points’ is a card-based, consumer loyalty program offering awards ranging from hotels stays to catalog merchandise. Consumers can a ‘Gold Points’ card through a network partner or via the ‘Gold Points’ web site. With each transaction, the card is electronically scanned and a central database records the new points total. Rewards can also be redeemed via the company’s web site. As an option, cardholders can donate points through the Gold Points ‘SHARE’ program for non-profit organizations. In addition to National Car Rental, other ‘Gold Points’ national network partners are: MCI WorldCom; SkyMall; Gold Connexions, a travel club; T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants; Radisson Hotels; and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.


Next Gen MICR

MN-based Mag-Tek Inc. introduced the ‘MICR Module’ for check reading for OEM applications. The new ‘MICR Module’ provides the smallest footprint, comprehensive features and tools to facilitate efficient integration. The new module also allows the addition of check-reading capabilities to devices such as terminals, keyboards, printers, cash registers, etc. The self-contained ‘MICR Module’ automatically discriminates between ‘E13B’ and ‘CMC7’ MICR fonts. With its optimized check-handling capabilities, the ‘MICR Module’ provides very high read accuracy for crumpled or folded check documents. All functions of the module are controlled via command-driven communications protocol.


Free Turkey MoneyGrams

MoneyGram Payment Systems, Inc., one of the world’s leading international money wire transfer services, is making their entire U.S. retail agent network available to process donations through MoneyGram to the American Red Cross International Response Fund for the victims of the earthquake in Turkey.

MoneyGram ExpressPayment System will waive the money wire transfer fee (normally $8.95) for anyone who wishes to make a donation to the American Red Cross at any of the 15,000 MoneyGram retail agents in the United States. The entire donation will go directly to the American Red Cross International Response Fund to benefit the victims of the earthquake.

“We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the people of Turkey at this immense loss they have suffered,” said Rob Ayers, MoneyGram’s executive vice president for international business. “We have many Turkish customers throughout the U.S., and we share their grief at this horrible and unprecedented tragedy.”

“We have also been in communication with MoneyGram agents in Turkey, KOCBANK and FINANSBANK, to do everything possible to facilitate money transfers to Turkish families and business firms during this crisis,” Ayers added.

In the wake of the earthquake, at least 6,000 people are dead and over 20,000 are injured. The Red Cross is on the scene, making sure that victims have access to food, shelter, clean water and medical supplies.

To make a no-fee donation, go to the nearest MoneyGram location and the agent will send your charitable contribution directly to the American Red Cross.

Please specify that you are making your donation via ExpressPayment and give the agent the Red Cross Receive Code 0730. The offer is available for approximately one month and will end at midnight Eastern Daylight Time on Sept. 16, 1999.

Your receipt will provide proof of your charitable donation. MoneyGram and its agents will also be making their own donation to the American Red Cross International Response Fund by donating $5 of the total waived-fee amount of every money transfer sent by anyone in the United States to Turkey until midnight on Sept. 16.

For further information, call (English) 1-800-926-9400.


VISA Cash Canada

Scotiabank said this morning it has expanded its ‘VISA Cash’ smart card pilot in Barrie, Ontario with an unprecedented loyalty program. Sam The Record Man, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Cineplex Odeon Grande Cinemas in Barrie are offering their customers free merchandise when they buy a certain number of items with their Scotiabank ‘VISA Cash’ smart card. Consumers are now collecting loyalty rewards from 18 merchants in the Barrie area on the VISA smart card. The card’s chip keeps track of points and rewards. Scotiabank says the Barrie smart card/loyalty pilot has the potential to expand to our stores across Canada. Starting this fall, Scotiabank customers in the Barrie area will be able to download cash from the Internet onto their smart cards. Consumers will use a smart card reading device connected to their PC to transfer money from their bank accounts to their smart cards.