The San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission will take a vote next Wednesday on whether to award a 10-year contract to a consortium led by Motorola to provide and develop a smart-card ticket system. The smart-card system would be called ‘TransLink’. If the Commission recommends the contract, the nine county Bay Area would become the first in the nation to have a universal ticket for use on all forms of public transportation. Similar smart-card ticket transit systems are in use in Hong Kong and Korea.



Consumer smart cards hit the nation’s capital for the first time yesterday as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority introduced ‘SmarTrip’. Tuesday’s event also marked the first use of contactless smart card technology on a major transit system in the USA. Metrorail riders will be able to store up to $198 in fare and parking value on the reloadable smart card. The WMATA is charging a $5 fee for each new ‘SmartTrip’ smart card or each replacement card. As an incentive Metro is offering a 10% bonus for riders who load $20 or more onto their card. VISA, MasterCard and Discover cards are being accepted for purchasing fare media and adding value at selected major stops such as the Metro Center. Earlier this year WMATA added internet sales to its web site, inaugurating ‘SmartLink’ for purchasing passes and Metrorail fare cards.The public transit service also launched a three month credit card pilot in April called: ‘SmartCharge’.


Secured Card Portfolio Sold

Baltimore-based Creditrust Corp. announced this morning it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire United Credit Card Bank for a purchase price of approximately $2.3 million in cash. Based in Louisiana, United Credit Card Bank issues MasterCard products, primarily to existing customers of its parent corporation. The accounts are secured by second mortgage loans on real estate. Creditrust is also receiving a participation interest in an $8 million credit card portfolio originated by the bank with the remainder of the portfolio being sold to a third party.


Personal Touch

While e-banking is taking off big time, Americans still love the personal touch of dealing with a teller according to a new survey by NCR. The company says the research shows that if banks want their customers to accept new technologies, then they must preserve that personal touch through their interactive offerings. The survey showed that teller transactions are still the most popular way to bank, followed by ATMs, telephone banking, and computer banking. More than 70% of Americans make deposits via a bank teller, while 62% use ATMs; 48% telephone their bank at least once a month; 45% still visit a bank teller at least three times a month; and 11% use a personal computer to do banking. However NCR noted that nearly half of the 25% of Americans with online access at home use their computer for banking. The survey was carried out for NCR by research firm BMRB International, which polled 1,237 adults in the USA by telephone.


FUSA Comes In-House

First USA, the world’s largest Visa credit card issuer, announced Monday that, with the completion of its new Nevada payment processing center, it is moving rapidly toward processing all customer payments in-house. The company had previously outsourced much of its payment processing.

First USA began transitioning to in-house payment processing last fall as part of its commitment to provide superior customer service. The program will move all operations to internal payment processing and is expected to be complete by October 1999, according to Jeffrey G. J. Chittenden, chief of operations and technology for First USA.

“As a result of the merger of BANK ONE CORPORATION and First Chicago NBD last October, we have been able to take full advantage of our combined capabilities to provide high-quality service to our customers,” Chittenden said.

According to Chittenden, internal processing will permit First USA to use proprietary systems and internal quality control systems developed by First Card. In addition, the company will operate three regional payment processing centers across the United States and will direct customers to send payments to the nearest processing center to expedite delivery of payments.

First USA (), a subsidiary of BANK ONE CORPORATION (NYSE: ONE), is the world’s largest issuer of Visa cards. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of more than 1,500 marketing partners. BANK ONE CORPORATION, with assets of more than $250 billion, is the nation’s fifth- largest bank holding company.


ATS Money Systems 1Q/99

ATS Money Systems, Inc. announced Monday its results of operations for the quarter ended March 31,1999, which were set forth in its Quarterly Report Form 10-QSB filed with the SEC on May 10, 1999:

Quarter ended March 31
1999 1998

Total Revenues $3,290,643 $3,204,331
Net Income 245,117 113,421
Earnings Per Share $.04 $.02

Gerard F. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of ATS Money Systems, Inc., commented, “Total revenues for the first quarter 1999 were $3,290,643 compared to $3,204,331 for the first quarter 1998, an increase of $86,312 (2.7%). Net income increased $131,696 (116.1%) to $245,117 for the 1999 quarter. Earnings per share doubled from $.02 for the 1998 quarter to $.04 for the 1999 quarter.”

“Cost of equipment and system sales decreased from 63.8% of revenues in the 1998 quarter to 47.5% in the 1999 quarter, resulting from a favorable change in the mix of products sold during the first quarter 1999. System sales (which includes related software) increased while hardware sales decreased, having a positive effect on margins.”

Mr. Murphy further commented on the favorable results of the quarter, “Our incoming orders continue to be strong for our full range of products. The 166% increase in first quarter income is a result of new orders from the supermarket and fast food industries for our new electronic counting equipment, as well as continued acceptance of our system products from new and existing customers, including companies such as Dayton Hudson, Target Stores, Lowes Companies, Inc., Shopko Stores and The Home Depot, from whom we continue to receive orders.

“Additionally, the Company, which announced a stock repurchase plan on May 22, 1998, to repurchase up to 500,000 shares of its Common Stock in open market transactions, has at this time, purchased back in excess of 200,000 shares in the program thus far.”

About ATS Money Systems, Inc.

ATS Money Systems, Inc., with its consolidated wholly owned subsidiary Innovative Electronics, Inc., is engaged in the development sale and service of currency counting systems and equipment for department and chain stores’ cash offices and bank commercial vaults and of specialized information communications systems primarily used by chain stores. The Company’s customers are businesses that handle a large number of cash, check and credit transactions on a daily basis, such as banks, department stores and chain stores.


Polaroid ID Cards

Polaroid Corp. announced yesterday it won separate contracts to provide 3 million national identification cards in Guinea and voter identification cards to 3.6 million voters in Yemen. The Guinea national identification card program features laser personalization of ID cards printed on security paper with a Polaroid film image with Ultraviolet security protection both protected by a secure laminate. The Yemen election program will use Polaroid cameras and film to create Election Registration Voter cards for the Yemen Arabic Republic. Internationally, Polaroid produces identification documents for governments in more than 60 countries including Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Russia and China.


United Airlines and Kemper Team Up

United Airlines and Kemper Auto & Home have teamed up to offer Mileage Plus members a new opportunity to earn miles toward free travel. Mileage Plus members are invited to receive at least 250 miles simply by requesting a free, no obligation quote on their auto insurance through Kemper’s new direct response division at [][1].

“In celebration of our new partnership with Kemper, we invite our Mileage Plus customers to take advantage of this mileage earning opportunity,” said Patricia Mash, President of Mileage Plus Marketing Inc. “As one of the top insurance organizations nationwide, we are delighted to add Kemper to our growing list of Mileage Plus partners.”

Kemper is the seventeenth largest property and casualty insurance company in the United States, with $3.7 billion in annual revenues and over $11.1 billion in assets. With a worldwide presence, a diversified product portfolio, experienced staff, competitive pricing, and superior customer service and claims handling, Kemper has earned superlative ratings: A+ from Standard and Poors, and A2 from Moody.

As the largest air carrier in the world and the largest majority employee-owned company, United Airlines offers 2,370 flights a day to 133 destinations in 27 countries and one U.S. territory. Mileage Plus has been named the best frequent flyer program by Business Traveler International magazine in 1996, 1997, and 1998, and by Conde Nast Traveler magazine in 1998 for frequent flier privileges. In addition, United was honored by Business Traveler International magazine and Conde Nast Traveler magazine as best major domestic airline in 1998.



Preferred Lodging Card

The National Advertising Review Board announced Monday it concurs with the decision of the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus regarding the truth and accuracy of VISA USA’s credit card advertising pertaining to use of the tag line, “The Preferred Lodging Card”. In Dec., the NAD determined that VISA’s tag line is an objectively provable claim, not mere puffery, and all reasonable interpretations must therefore be substantiated. While VISA did provide data to show more consumers use VISA than all other cards, the NARB insisted that overall sales volume is not sufficient evidence of consumer preference and that the other evidence in the record also did not establish preference. The NAD says since VISA failed to provide the substantiation that it should discontinue the tag line. In light of the NARB’s and NAD’s opinion, VISA announced Monday it will voluntarily cease distribution of the advertising and marketing at issue. American Express led the challenge.


PubliCARD 1Q/99

PubliCARD, Inc. announced Monday financial results for the first quarter of 1999.

Sales for the three months ended March 31, 1999 were $5.2 million compared to sales in the prior year period of $4.2 million. The Company reported a net loss of $6.1 million, or $0.35 per share, in 1999 which included a $2.9 million non-cash charge relating to in- process research and development associated with the Company’s February 1999 acquisitions of Amazing! Smart Card Technologies, Inc. and Greystone Peripherals, Inc. Excluding the in-process research and development charge, the Company would have reported a net loss of $3.2 million, or $0.18 per share. The net loss for the first quarter of 1998 was $78,000, or $0.01 per share. The acquisitions of Amazing and Greystone have been accounted for under the purchase method of accounting and, accordingly, their results are included in the consolidated financial statements of the Company since the respective acquisition dates.

Results for the 1999 first quarter included a loss from continuing operations of $5.8 million, or $0.33 per share, and a loss from discontinued operations of $352,000, or $0.02 per share. Results for the 1998 first quarter included a loss from continuing operations of $155,000, or $0.01 per share, and income from discontinued operations of $77,000. In March 1999, the Company’s Board of Directors adopted a plan to dispose of its engineering subsidiary, Orr-Schelen-Mayeron & Associates, Inc. (OSM). Financial information has been restated to reflect OSM as a discontinued operation.

Sales of coin products were $3.9 million in the first quarter of 1999, compared to $4.1 million in the comparable period in 1998. Revenues from technology products were $1.3 million in the recent quarter, compared to $0.1 million a year ago.

James Weis, President and Chief Executive officer, commenting on the quarterly results said, “PubliCARD made substantial strides in the first quarter toward assembling the mosaic of technologies and businesses to exploit the emerging opportunities in smart card applications. We acquired and have successfully integrated Amazing! Smart Card Technologies and Greystone Peripherals into the Company. With Tritheim’s recent award of PC/SC certification from Microsoft Corporation, we are positioning our products and solutions to operate within the Windows environments and be compatible with all worldwide standards.”

About PubliCARD, Inc.

Headquartered at Fairfield, CT, PubliCARD develops and deploys smart card systems and technology. With a presence in the U.S. and international smart card markets, PubliCARD specializes in many areas of smart card technology, including chip card manufacturing, smart card readers, electronic commerce security software, components for applications in cable and broadcast access, unattended point-of-sale equipment, chipsets, web filtering systems, a complete range of PCMCIA and digital photography products and more. You can find more information at [][1]

For more info on 1Q/99 for PubliCARD visit CardData ([][2])



Chase World Mastercard

The ‘World MasterCard’ got a big lift yesterday as Chase Manhattan announced the launch of the ‘Chase World MasterCard’. The Chase version offers consumers a fixed 9.9% APR with a $75 annual fee. The ‘World MasterCard’ features no pre-set credit limit with the option of revolving a portion of the balance. It is a product directly targeted at American Express cardholders as a hybrid charge card/credit card. The value-added MasterCard enables cardholders to earn miles toward free flights on any major airline with no blackout dates. Additionally, the card features a 24-Hour ‘Global Concierge Service’ and the Chase ’24-Hour Travel Center’, which offers 5% cash rebates on travel and hotel discounts of up to 15%. MasterCard introduced the ‘World MasterCard’ in Oct. 97 to serve the growing number of affluent, convenience-only cardholders . . . . mostly aging baby boomers. Although not widely available, the ‘World MasterCard’ is also offered by Bank of America and Household Bank. VISA’ offers a similar product called ‘VISA Signature’.


CFI Acquisitions

OR-based CFI ProServices made two major acquisitions Monday that will make CFI the first software provider to have over one million consumers using its technology to perform on-line banking functions through CFI financial institution clients. CFI is acquiring both information management software company ULTRADATA Corp. and home banking/e-commerce firm MECA Software LLC. CFI is buying CA-based ULTRADATA, which had 1998 revenues of $30.8 milllion, for $63 million. ULTRADATA has 430 credit union customers and employs 175 people. The ULTRADATA transaction is expected to close during the third quarter.

CFI will assume approximately $10 million of net liabilities of MECA and will issue 50,000 shares of CFI stock to MECA’s owners. MECA, based in CT, had 1998 revenues of $23.6 million and employs 266. The MECA acquisition will close this week.