Equifax Processes Fininvest

Equifax yesterday announced that its transaction card processing operation in Brazil, Equifax Unnisa, has signed a contract with Fininvest, one of South America’s largest card issuers, to provide processing for its 2.9 million VISA, MasterCard and private label card accounts.

Equifax Unnisa, under this contract, will provide full service processing for Fininvest’s existing 400,000 card VISA program that will include card activation, customer service and transaction processing. In addition, this new umbrella contract provides for the conversion of Fininvest’s 2.5 million private label card base. The conversion of Fininvest’s cards to Equifax Unnisa is expected to be completed in 1999. Further, the contract allows Fininvest the capability to move its 1.2 million “Especial” card portfolio to Equifax Unnisa’s platform.

Lee A. Kennedy, Equifax executive vice president, Payment Services, said, “This exciting opportunity again confirms the recognition of our broad range of service capabilities by companies at the highest levels of world excellence. We are most confident that our unique, differentiating capabilities will continue to result in new processing contracts with world class Brazilian and multi-national companies in the Latin American market. With the addition of Fininvest and the recent contract with GE Capital, Equifax Unnisa is now the largest third party card processor in Brazil.”

Edson Bacha, president of Equifax Unnisa, said, “There are tremendous benefits for both companies from this association to further expand Fininvest’s significant card bases. Equifax Unnisa’s services will be employed to support Fininvest’s growth strategy by enabling it to focus on its core business — consumer credit.”

Jose R. M. Tosi, president of Fininvest, stated that the choice of Equifax Unnisa “was due to their technological and operational capacity to support the growth rate foreseen by Fininvest for the next five years. Fininvest intends to expand its clients base to over 20 million Brazilians, especially among those that have just started to get access to credit.”

Once these cards are converted, Equifax will be managing almost six million cards in Brazil, more than double the 2.5 million cards which Unnisa was processing when Equifax acquired its 59% interest in September 1998.

Fininvest is a financing company with total assets of US$ 1.0 billion and headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. Fininvest provides various personal, installment and term loan products to consumers. Fininvest showed significant revenue growth in the last two years with its assets increasing by 400%.

Equifax ([http://www.equifax.com][1] ), a worldwide leader in shaping global commerce, brings buyers and sellers together through its information management, transaction processing and knowledge-based businesses. Atlanta-based Equifax serves the financial services, retail, credit card, telecommunications/utilities, transportation, information technology and healthcare industries and government. Equifax adds knowledge, expertise, convenience and security to provide value-added solutions and processes for its customers wherever they do business, including the Internet and other networks. Entering its second century in business, Equifax employs about 13,000 associates in 18 countries with sales in almost 50 and has nearly $1.7 billion in revenue.

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

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P3 Smart Card System

Racal Secure Payment Systems yesterday announced the introduction of a Personalization Preparation Process (P3) card issuance system that allows card issuers to move into smart card schemes by reducing or eliminating the need to change existing card issuing systems. Racal’s P3 system either generates cardholder data files or receives the files generated from existing applications and adds the appropriate data for the smart card applications to produce composite files in a format ready for the personalization system. This includes electronic purse (DES and RSA) data, cryptographic keys and certificates, dedicated funding account application data as well as credit and debit card data. Interfacing directly to the card personalization systems, Racal’s P3 system uses data file formats that are widely used in the card industry.

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First Quarter Contraction

For first quarter 1999 card receivables slipped a modest 1.5% from the year end 1998 compared to a 2.0% drop for 1Q/98. According to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]) first quarter receivables for bank credit cards logged in at $447.5 billion compared to $454.3 billion at year end 1998.

CARD INDUSTRY OVERVIEW
1Q/98 2Q/98 3Q/98 4Q/98 1Q/99
Receivables $433.7b $427.6b $440.5b $454.3b $447.5b
Volume $190.6b $201.8b $213.7b $227.6b $206.7b
Gross Accts 332.2m 328.5m 330.5m 335.2m 326.2m
Active Accts 222.6m 220.6m 221.1m 231.2m 224.5m
Cards-in-Force 484.9m 488.3m 492.0m 504.0m 509.0m

figures exclude debit cards and business cards; volume includes purchases
and cash advances
b-billions m-millions
SOURCE: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Euro & Yen Card Payments

Tuesday, Paymentech announced that is has added the Euro and Japanese yen to its international payment processing capabilities. Canada and U.S. based direct marketers and electronic retailers can now price and receive credit card payment deposits in these currencies and avoid exchange rate fluctuations. In addition to the Euro and Japanese yen, Paymentech’s direct response unit offers British Pounds sterling, Canadian dollars, Dutch guilders, French francs, German marks and Irish punts as payment currencies for MasterCard and Visa. Paymentech also processes American Express transactions in all of these currencies except the yen. International electronic payments enable non-face-to-face merchants to maintain the transaction in a local currency.

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INTEL Joins SCF

The Smart Card Forum, a multi-industry organization working to accelerate the widespread acceptance and application of smart card technology, confirmed Tuesday that Intel Corporation has joined as the Forum’s newest Principal Member. Intel’s participation in the Forum will help the organization in furthering the advancement of the use and development of smart card applications.

“We are thrilled to have participation in the Forum from a global leader such as Intel working with us to promote the advancement of smart card applications,” said SCF President and CEO Donna Farmer. “As the largest smart card organization, we offer members many benefits that are unmatched in the industry, such as access to vast amounts of information from our research findings and workgroup meetings, as well as the Smart Card Forum Educational Institute. As a leader in computing products and technologies, the knowledge and expertise Intel brings to the table will be highly valuable to all of our members. We look forward to working with them as smart cards increasingly become part of our every day lives.”

“Intel is committed to enhancing trusted, connected computing and we see smart card applications as an integral part of many platform solutions to improve security while managing user privacy,” said Lee Hirsch, security and privacy marketing manager of Intel’s Desktop Products Group. “Intel is excited to become a member of The Smart Card Forum and sees our participation as an opportunity to accelerate the adoption of smart card technology into PC platforms in all market segments.”

As a Principal Member, Intel is entitled to privileged access to the Smart Card Forum Consumer Research, other Forum sponsored research and documents, along with attendance at the Technical Working Group sessions, Smart Card Forum Educational Institute programs, and the Annual Meeting.

About Intel Corp.

Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at .

About The Smart Card Forum

The Smart Card Forum is a non-profit, multi-industry organization of nearly 200 members working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of multiple application smart card technology by bringing together, in an open forum, leading users and technologists from both the public and private sectors. The Smart Card Forum is the leading organization for education and awareness of topical issues associated with the use and adoption of smart card systems. The Smart Card Forum also operates the Smart Card Forum Educational Institute, the industry-leading course dedicated to providing smart card education that has set the standard in the industry. The curriculum is based on leading edge educational models and methodologies utilizing experienced instructors who are experts in the smart card industry. For more information about The Smart Card Forum, log on to the organization’s Web site at [http://www.smartcardforum.org][1].

[1]: http://www.smartcardforum.org/

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Uruguay POS2000

Uruguay’s POS2000 has selected Hypercom Corporation to provide more than 1,000 card payment terminals and smart card-enabled PINPads that will allow this newly-created company of Uruguay’s leading merchant acquirers to expand its private nationwide credit and debit card transaction processing retail merchant network. Hypercom’s T7P terminal devices and S7S Quad smart card-enabled PINPads will be positioned at merchant sites throughout Uruguay, and will significantly increase the number of transactions annually processed by member organizations. The Hypercom solutions will be deployed by the second quarter of 1999.

Hypercom’s T7P is a compact, high-performance terminal that supports draft capture, debit, check and proprietary card processing, and new payment vehicles such as chip card-based credit/debit cards and stored value cards. Hypercom’s S7S Quad PINPad incorporates a secure multi-SAM (Secure Access Module) and will support POS2000 future smart card requirements. The deployment of Hypercom’s solutions is, according to POS2000, in line with the acquirer group’s strategy of broadening the reach of its POS network to provide thousands of merchants with the latest terminal technology by the year 2000.

“Hypercom’s card payment system is extremely reliable, easy to operate, processes transactions very quickly and supplements our existing network perfectly,” said Juan Carlos Grosso, Director, POS2000. “With Hypercom’s innovative technology, we can offer faster response times and greater flexibility. Equally important, the technology enables customers to move to more sophisticated transaction processing solutions without sacrificing functionality or responsiveness.”

“We are very pleased to support POS2000 in its efforts to upgrade its infrastructure,” said Jairo E. Gonzalez, president, Hypercom International. “The endorsement of Uruguay’s leading merchant acquirers further demonstrates the advantages of Hypercom’s solutions.”

The new Hypercom solutions will further enhance the POS2000 network, which uses standard dial-up phone lines and Hypercom POS terminals, PINPads, network access controllers (NACs) and acquirer-developed authorization software to accept and route POS payment transactions. The NAC’s modular architecture enables customers to design custom configurations and easily accommodate future growth and new payment options such as stored value cards and smart cards. Hypercom’s Uruguay distributor, GEOCOM, is providing POS2000 with Hypercom POS hardware, software and field services, which will complement an existing network operated by IBM. Both the T7P terminal and S7S Quad multi-SAM PINPad will be produced at Hypercom’s manufacturing facilities in Brazil.

POS2000 is a newly-created company comprising major Uruguay acquirers including VISANET, MasterCard, Oca Card, PlataCard, Diners and Cabal. Headquartered in Montevideo, POS2000 was specifically established to expand the current Uruguay POS terminal network and deploy new payment products throughout the country. Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC) is a global provider of electronic payment solutions, including multi-functional point-of-sale terminals, peripherals, network products, Ascendent(TM) payment and transaction software and Internet-based and electronic commerce payment solutions. On a global basis Hypercom delivers the services and technology infrastructure required to quickly integrate and deploy new payment applications. These applications provide competitive value-add programs, improved business performance and low total cost of ownership. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 60 countries through a global network of offices and affiliates in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com][1].

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

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Portable E-Cash

C-MAC Industries yesterday announced the release of a test of a new portable e-cash device. Residents of Sherbrooke, Quebec will soon test a new smart card device designed and manufactured by C-MAC Industries. The new ‘C-MAC Electronic Wallet’ will allow Royal Bank clients to transfer electronic cash from person to person. Some of the features of the wallet include a calculator and a log of the cardholder’s last 10 e-cash transactions as well as being able to view the current balance on the card. New, capabilities, such as Internet loading or other smart card applications, are also expected to be added to the wallet in the future.

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MagicLine Agreement

Magic Line, Inc., the Midwest?s leading electronic funds transfer (EFT) network, announced it has signed five-year Participation and Gateway Services Agreements with the two largest banks in Traverse City, Michigan Empire National Bank of Traverse City and Northwestern Savings Bank & Trust.

In addition to its current Magic Line agreements for Cardbase Management and Visa Check card services, Empire National Bank has signed five-year contracts with Magic Line for Participation and Gateway Service Agreements. ?We have a great relationship with Magic Line. We chose the network for their strength in Michigan they have a large cardbase and number of terminals and fine customer service. Their strong regional presence is crucial to use here in Traverse City where many of our customers travel from down state and out-of-state areas such as Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago and Columbus,? said Bruce Reavely, Division Vice President, Empire National Bank. Chartered in 1912, Empire National Bank currently holds $480 million in assets and has 12 ATMs, with approximately 9,000 Magic Line cardholders.

In addition to its current Magic Line agreements for ATM Terminal Driving, Cardbase Management and MasterMoney Card Services, Northwestern Saving Bank & Trust has signed a five-year contract with Magic Line for Participation and Gateway Services Agreements. ? Our long-standing relationship with Magic Line and its continuing cooperation with us are the main reason we selected the network again for these new contracts,? said Lynn Fricke, Assistant Vice President. Founded in 1955, Northwestern currently holds $205 million in assess and has 11 ATMs, with approximately 7,000 cardholders.

As one of the top regional EFT networks linked throughout the United States and globally, Magic Line supports 14 million cardholders with access to over 169,000 ATM, POS and remote banking terminals. Magic Line processes 15 million transactions monthly and serves over 1,049 banks, credit unions and thrifts in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin and 8 other states. The company offers: full-service ATM management, ATM terminal driving; cardbase management and authorization services; on-line POS debit services with ML Pay; off-line POS debit services with MasterMoney and Visa Check Card; remote banking/bill payment services; and marketing services. In December 1998, Magic Line signed a definitive agreement to merge with NYCE Corporation, the leading provider of electronic payments services in the Northeast. Magic Line?s Website address is www.magicline.com.

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FUSA CyberMark

First USA Bank announced yesterday is has purchased an equity position in smart card innovator ‘CyberMark’. Together they will offer smart card services to partners including university campuses, corporate campuses, military bases and sports arenas. First USA and ‘CyberMark’ in January 1998 jointly issued the Florida State MasterCard, which was the first publicly available credit card with smart card technology.

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PaymentNet

Paymentech announced Monday that its commercial card unit is implementing a purchasing card program for PepsiCo, Pepsi Bottling Group and Frito-Lay. Paymentech is launching a MasterCard purchasing card program for PepsiCo that utilizes the Internet reporting system ‘PaymentNet’. Once the program is fully rolled out, Paymentech anticipates issuing 8,000 purchasing cards with an estimated annual charge volume of $100 million.

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Go Software

Go Software, Inc., developer of PC-Charge the leading credit, debit/ATM card and check transaction processing software, Monday announced new versions of their electronic payment processing software products Win-Charge, PC-Charge and active-Charge. The new version contains an assortment of new features and enhancement mandated by industry regulations and requested by merchant end-users. These new features are required for merchants to receive the best processing rates from their financial institutions and also allow merchants to meet consumer payment expectations while ensuring reliability and ease of use.

As of this release, all GO products have been updated to meet the latest Visa and MasterCard processing requirements as of April 1999. By utilizing these latest releases, merchants can avoid additional fee assessments from their financial service organizations by providing all data by Visa and MasterCard. Existing end-users may obtain the new versions as an upgrade from GO Software or their authorized GO reseller.

With the federal government mandating electronic processing for all foodstamp programs by 2002 and 39 states already with programs running or in pilot, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) has become a requirement at the point of sale for most grocery and similar retail merchants. With the release of these latest product versions, GO Software becomes the first commercial payment processing software to offer this capability. Coupled with GO’s active-Charge product for integrating payment processing at the point of sale, GO Software is rapidly becoming the industry standard payment solution for grocery and other retail merchants.

Perhaps the most innovative new feature is the implementation of Microsoft’s industry standard Telephone Application Programming Interface (TAPI). TAPI provides a programmable interface between Windows and the end-user’s modem, and alleviates the need for the end-user to know the technical details of their modem to properly configure it for payment processing. This is especially important for payment processing because the financial services industry user different communications standard and modem setting than those used for web surfing and other typical modem uses. In addition, TAPI lets multiples applications share one device eliminating potential conflicts and making the PC more Productive.

‘We are really excited about the new features we have added to this version. Being the first to market with EBT and TPI once again demonstrates GO Software’s leadership in the electronic payment processing space’, Says Ken Boekhaus, VP of Sales and Marketing for GO Software. Adds Bill Pittman, Chief Technology Officer for GO Software, ‘We listen to our customers, and with the unique communication requirements for the payment industry, we recognized an opportunity to simplify the modem setup and configuration. Engineering this benefit into our product makes life easier for our customers and results in a competitive advantage for GO. This is an example of a win-win or the customer and exemplifies how GO Software likes to do business.’

About GO Software, Inc.

GO Software, Inc., is a privately held, venture capital funded corporation based in Savannah, GA, and is the leading provider of innovative Windows based software solution for processing credit, debit/ATM card, EBT and check transactions. The company’s PC-Charge and Win-Charge software products are alternatives to the stand-alone single-function bank terminals many businesses currently use to process payments, and their active-Charge and other products provide fully integrated, scalable payment processing solutions for POS systems and Electronic Commerce environments. GO Software has long-standing relationships with banks and financial institutions that process electronic payment transactions, and can be reached through the Internet at [www.gosoftinc.com][1] or by calling (800) 725-9264.

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

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Phantom Gift Cards

Star Wars fans are soaring in at hyper speed to Borders Books and Music and Waldenbooks stores to snap up Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace electronic gift certificate cards. The electronic gift certificate cards resemble credit cards, but feature incredible color graphics of two Phantom Menace characters: the young Anakin Skywalker and the villainous Darth Maul. Like prepaid phone cards, Star Wars electronic gift certificate cards retain their unused balance. Each gift card redemption must include at least one Star Wars purchase. As an added convenience, customers can call a toll-free number to check the balance on their electronic gift certificate cards.

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