NYCE  Magic

The largest electronic payments companies in the Northeast and Midwest, NYCE Corp. and Magic Line, Inc., announced Monday they have signed a definitive agreement to merge. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. A branding strategy analysis is planned to begin shortly after the companies are combined, however both firms indicated yesterday they will operate under one brand.  The Board of Directors for the combined company will be comprised of the 12 principal owners with 4 additional seats for regional representatives from the new company’s market area. Approximately 240 financial institutions are expected to own minority interests in the new company. NYCE CEO Dennis  Lynch will continue as President and CEO of NYCE, and Woodcliff Lake, NJ will be its corporate headquarters. John Bascom will serve as an EVP of the combined organization, and President of its Midwest Regional Business Unit, headquartered in Dearborn, MI.

NYCE + MAGIC LINE  SNAPSHOT  (stats as of 11/30/98)

Institutions 2,370 1,315 1,055
Cardholders 47M          31.1M       15.9M
ATMs 31,125         19,825      11,300
POS Locations 179,000 156,000 79,000
Terminals Driven        3,415          2,115        1,300
ATM Mo. Tx              31.2M         24.9M         6.3M
POS Mo. Tx              16.4M         13.3M         3.1M
Proc.Srvcs Mo. Tx      16.2M         11.3M         4.9M
Total Mo. Trans.        63.8M         49.5M        14.3M
Source: NYCE/Magic Line    M-millions; Mo.-monthly; tx-transactions;


T-9 Smart Cards

CO-based Cardxx, Inc. announced it has completed the initial phase of production of ‘System T-9’ smart cards for Westinghouse Security Electronics. The ‘System T-9’ is a new core technology that is a superior alternative to the lamination process for the production of contactless, contacted smart cards and intelligent tags. The system uses a proprietary low pressure, room temperature process that encapsulates an integrated circuit and/or an antenna while the card is being formed. The ‘System T-9’ is currently producing 9,000 contactless cards per hour.


DataCard 500

DataCard Corp. Monday introduced a new series of systems designed to fit the needs of mid-volume card issuers. The new ‘DataCard 500 Series’ will include two models. The ‘DataCard 503 System’ can be configured with a PC-based software controller and a choice of three card personalization features. The ‘DataCard 504 System’ can be configured with the controller and four card personalization features.


Mall Sales Off

Sales at mall specialty stores decreased 0.7% during the third full week of the holiday shopping season, compared with the same period last year, the International Council of Shopping Centers reported yesterday. The group says this has been an unusual shopping season. Despite positive economic indicators, it appears the unseasonably warm weather as well as dramatic domestic and international political events have distracted shoppers.


Sunoco Contract

Concord EFS confirmed Monday that Sunoco has signed a five-year exclusive agreement with Concord’s EFS National Bank, for credit settlement processing for its more than 3,800 locations throughout the Northeast and Midwest. The agreement will become effective in the third quarter 1999. Sunoco also elected to continue with EPS’ BUYPASS as its switch processor for debit and credit, signing a five-year agreement. The agreement is effectively an extension of Sunoco’s nearly ten-year association with BUYPASS. One month ago Concord and Electronic Payment Services announced a merger. The companies said yesterday that these two contracts are an indication of the synergies Concord and BUYPASS expect to offer current and future clients through this merger.


China Airlines VISA

China Southern Airlines and The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China announced yesterday the new ‘Peony-China Southern Airlines VISA’. This is the first-ever VISA credit card offered by any airline in China. The new card, in its standard version, offers a 3% discount on China Southern Airline tickets. VISA Gold cardholders receive a 5% discount. The ICBC launched the ‘Peony VISA’ card in 1989 and currently has 33 million cardholders.


CyberCash – Barclays

Barclays Merchant Services selected CyberCash’s secure payment technology Monday as the foundation of Britain’s first bank-owned Internet payment system. Barclays, which handles the credit and debit card purchases at over 125,000 shops and businesses across the UK, will offer ‘ePDQ’, a virtual version of Barclays Merchant Services’ PDQ point-of-sale credit/debit terminals used by UK businesses. The ‘ePDQ’ service is similar to CyberCash’s ‘CashRegister’ Internet payment service already available to merchants in the U.S..



Total System Services said Monday it has entered into a strategic alliance to form a marketing partnership with HNC Software to offer HNC’s suite of real-time, transaction-based predictive software solutions for credit, debit, and private-label cards for TSYS’ clients. HNC products covered by the agreement include: ProfitMax; ProfitMax Bankruptcy; Falcon; Falcon Debit; Falcon Select; and Falcon Retail.



IVI Checkmate announced this morning the acquisition of Debitek Holding Limited (Debitek) of Chattanooga, TN, was completed effective December 18th. IVI Checkmate acquired all of the outstanding stock of Debitek for $4.95 million in IVI Checkmate stock valued at $5.40 per share. The transaction will be accounted for as a pooling-of-interests. IVI Checkmate says it will integrate Debitek’s software libraries and hardware units with Ingenico’s smart card technology to form solutions that integrate the needs of closed systems and open payment systems.


IVI Wireless Terminal

IVI Checkmate Corp. announced last week that its Elite 780 has received certification from the Royal Bank of Canada, and becomes the first fully portable long range wireless terminal available in Canada for both debit and credit applications.

The Elite 780 is one of several wireless terminals offered by IVI Checkmate, and is the first certified by the Royal Bank to accept debit transactions at the point-of-sale. With a built-in modem and thermal printer, the Elite 780 is a complete portable POS solution that is compact, lightweight and ideally suited to portable applications where the terminal is brought to the customer.

The Elite 780 will be targeted by the Royal Bank to mobile and service/hospitality businesses such as home repair businesses, delivery services, portable sales kiosks, taxi cabs and limousines, restaurants and petroleum full-service stations.

“This wireless terminal gives merchants the first portable payment solution that offers consumers the ability to choose between debit or credit whatever best suits their needs,” says Frank Moore, Vice-President, Merchant and Point of Sale Services, Royal Bank. “With the phenomenal growth of debit in this country, unmatched anywhere else in the world, it is important to combine both debit and credit functions into one portable payment terminal.”

With this new terminal, clients of Grocery Gateway will be able to do their shopping online at and then pay for their purchases with debit or credit when they are delivered to their door. “The Elite 780 terminal with debit capability means our clients can choose between paying with their debit card, the most commonly used form of payment for groceries in Canada, or credit,” says Bill DiNardo, president of Grocery Gateway, a Toronto-based internet grocery shopping company that offers home delivery to the Greater Toronto area. “This is a great step forward for e-commerce in Canada.”

The Elite 780 with debit card functionality has a distinct competitive advantage over other wireless terminals currently available in that IVI Checkmate’s mobile payment terminals have been designed to transmit transactions on Cantel AT&T’s Mobitex network. The Mobitex network is a wireless system that is dedicated to processing data instead of voice, which is the most common wireless signal. As a result, the payment transaction signal carried via Mobitex does not have to compete with voice signals, resulting in greater reliability.

Rogers Cantel has approximately 1.8 million wireless subscribers in Canada. Rogers Cantel Mobile Communications Inc. (TSE:RCM.B); (NYSE:RCN), an 81% owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc., owns and operates Canada’s largest wireless company. Rogers Cantel offers a full range of wireless communication services including voice, data and paging under the co-brand Cantel(R) AT&T(TM).

Royal Bank (ticker symbol: RY) is Canada’s premier global financial services group and a leading provider of personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, and wealth management services. As one of North America’s largest financial institutions, Royal Bank and its key subsidiaries Royal Trust, RBC Dominion Securities, RBC Insurance, and Royal Bank Action Direct have 60,000 employees who serve 10 million clients through more than 1,500 branches and offices in 36 countries.

IVI Checkmate Corp. also announced last week an order for its eN-Check 430 check reader from Chicago-based LaSalle Bank Group.

LaSalle, a subsidiary of ABN AMRO Bank N.V., is installing the eN-Check 430 as part of its branch-wide implementation of a state-of-the-art teller system. The eN-Check 430 is a key component in LaSalle’s effort to improve customer service through automated accurate check reading and check fraud deterrence. LaSalle is the tenth financial institution this year to implement IVI Checkmate products in their bank branches.

Maureen Murphy, First Vice President & Manager, of LaSalle’s Retail Bank Group, commented, “The acceptance of the eN-Check 430 by our tellers has been nothing short of outstanding. We have exceeded our productivity goals for improved check acceptance by a wide margin. The MICR reading accuracy and `hand back/hold away` features of the eN-Check 430 have contributed to our tellers ability to service more customers in a shorter time period.”

Greg Lewis, President and CEO of IVI Checkmate’s U.S. Operations, said, “Banks are increasingly looking towards technology to improve customer service and reduce operating costs. LaSalle and many other banks have found immense value in the eN-Check 430’s superior reliability, outstanding read accuracy and industry leading fraud detection capabilities.”

The LaSalle Bank Group, which consists of LaSalle Bank FSB, LaSalle Bank N.A., and LaSalle National Bank, are subsidiaries of ABN AMRO Bank N.V., the 8th largest bank (by Tier 1 capital) in the world, with approximately $490 billion in assets and more than 1900 locations in 71 countries around the globe. ABN AMRO’s holdings in North America also include EAB, a commercial and retail banking subsidiary servicing the New York Metropolitan area, and Troy, Michigan-based Standard Federal Bank, which provides retail, mortgage and commercial banking services throughout Michigan.

IVI Checkmate is the third largest electronic payment solutions provider in North America. IVI Checkmate is a full-service solutions provider in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America serving the retail, financial, hospitality, banking, healthcare and transportation industries. With offices in the U.S. and Canada as well as established strategic alliances and worldwide partnerships, IVI Checkmate is well positioned to deliver leading products and global technologies to our customers.