PNC to Metris

PNC Bank completed its sale of out-of-footprint, non-affinity credit card accounts to Metris’ Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank yesterday. The portfolio involved receivables of $821 million and nearly 500,000 accounts. PNC says the sale of the portfolio is part of a series of initiatives designed to improve the returns in PNC’s national consumer banking business.The sale of the credit card portfolio, which was announced in Sept. brings Metris’ credit card portfolio to over $5.0 billion in receivables and nearly 3.0 million accounts. At the end of the third quarter Direct Merchants held $4,242,768,000 in receivables and 2,300,000 active accounts according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). CardData reports that PNC held $3,867,150,000 in receivables and 2,075,445 active accounts as of Sept. 30, 1998.

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

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Casinos Get Iced

Hypercom announced Thursday that its ‘ICE’ or ‘Interactive Consumer Environment 5000’ terminals are being deployed to more than 1,000 casinos around the country by the Global Cash Access consortium. Established in June, the Global Cash Access consortium is the largest cash access provider to casinos and includes BA Merchant Services, Inc., USA Processing and First Data Corp.. Hypercom’s terminals will be used in conjunction with its ‘T7E’ terminal to form a complete point-of-service cash solution for casino players. The roll-out began this month at Bally’s in Atlantic City and will include casinos in Las Vegas and riverboats nationwide. The deployments will be completed within 60 days. The ‘ICE 5000’ terminals are delivered with touch screen and smart card functionality and are equipped with Hypercom’s ‘FastPOS’ 9600 baud modems built in.

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M&I Data VISA Awards

M&I Data Services, a leading provider of electronic funds transfer solutions and bank card services, announces that its bankcard services division is the recipient of three Visa U.S.A. awards:  two 1998 Member Service Quality Performance Awards, plus a special award.

This marks the sixth time that BankCard Services earned one of the best copy request rates and the second time the division received recognition for one of the best chargeback rates by an Acquirer with annual Visa sales between $2 billion and $5 billion. BankCard Services also received a special award for winning in the copy request category for five or more consecutive years.

“The BankCard Services Division of M&I Data Services made quality service our 1998 team goal,” said Mark Courchane, general manager of BankCard Services for M&I Data Services.  “These awards recognize the efforts and dedication of the BankCard Services Team in providing a high level of service to its customers.”

“We are excited about receiving these awards from Visa U.S.A.  This reflects our commitment to provide superior service quality to customers,” said Frank D’Angelo, senior vice president and general manager of Electronic Funds Delivery (EFD) Services and BankCard Services for M&I Data Services.

The BankCard Services division of M&I Data Services processes credit card transactions, provides complete cardholder and merchant services, plus offers automated fraud monitoring, credit approval and portfolio risk management.

The Electronic Funds Delivery (EFD) Services division of M&I Data Services processes more than 50 million transactions a month, supports more than 7,000 ATMs, has issued more than 10 million ATM and debit cards, performs network gateway services and has network interfaces to all of the major regional and national ATM and point-of-sale (POS) networks.

Visa is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders and the global economy. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year. Visa’s 660 million cards are accepted at more than 14 million worldwide locations, including 370,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. The company Web site is

M&I Data Services is a provider of leading-edge technology solutions to the financial services industry. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., it offers consulting, software and processing solutions for financial institutions worldwide. The company’s rapid growth is being fueled by innovative product development, strategic product acquisitions and strong growth of its customer relationships. M&I Data Services is a division of Marshall & Ilsley Corporation, a $21.2 billion holding company. For more information, visit the M&I Data Services Web site at

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TNS Signs BB&T

Transaction Network Services announced yesterday that it has signed an agreement with BB&T Corp. to provide enhanced ATM technology and transaction transport services. BB&T has more than 740 ATMs currently in service. BB&T will use the TNS ‘TransXpress 1000’ modem and the TNS ‘Host Interface Processor’ to convert approximately 250 ATMs from multi-drop leased lines to a dial-up network. The ‘TransXpress’ modems convert leased line ATMs to alternative communication access methods by replacing the existing modem at the ATM.

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Sumx Investor

Britton & Koontz Capital Corporation announced Thursday the acquisition of a thirty-five percent interest in Sumx Inc., an Internet banking software and service provider located in Madison, Mississippi and Dallas, Texas for $1 million. Sumx, formerly InterBank Systems, Inc., was founded in January, 1996 by Summit Research, Inc., a software engineering firm and Bazile R. Lanneau, Jr., Vice President of Britton & Koontz Capital, to develop an Internet banking system for Britton & Koontz First National Bank, Britton & Koontz Capital’s wholly owned subsidiary.  The SumxNet Online Banking system enables financial institutions’ customers to view account balances, transfer funds, pay bills, order checks and, where available, view check images.  In addition to consumer bill payment, SumxNet also provides cash management services that include ACH origination and returns, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System submission, wire transfer, secure messaging and memo posting for up-to-the-minute account updates.  Britton & Koontz’ investment will fund marketing and the service bureau implementation of SumxNet.  Sumx can be located at on the Internet and at 601-856-1736 in Madison, Mississippi.

Britton & Koontz Capital Corporation, headquartered in Natchez, Mississippi, is the parent company of Britton & Koontz First National Bank which operates three full service offices in Natchez.  As of September 30, 1998, the Company reported assets of $175.4 million and equity of $19.2 million.  The Company’s stock is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol BKBK and the transfer agent is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company.  Total shares outstanding at September 30, 1998, amounted to 1,767,064.

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Jeep ATM

ARCO mini-market customers who use one of the 680 KeyBank ATM’s across California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona can enter to win a 1999 Jeep Wrangler in KeyBank’s  “KEY TO YOUR CAR SWEEPSTAKES!”. In addition to the car contest, ARCO customers using the ATM have a one in three chance of becoming an instant winner of a 32oz. soft drink. The KeyBank sweepstakes runs until Jan. 4. Following their ATM transaction, interested customers can sign up to win by printing out an entry form. While waiting for a transaction to finish, the ATM screen could also flash an instant soft drink winner award.

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Xmas Checkwriting Slows

With the explosion in debit card use Americans are writing less checks this holiday season. TeleCheck Services reported this week that same-store sales for the first ten days of the holiday shopping period were only up 2.2% over the same period last year. The data are based on a same-store comparison of the dollar volume of authorized checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 200,000 subscribing locations. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending. For the first ten days of the holiday period, the Midwest region led the nation with a 3.6% increase. Other regions: Southeast (+2.7%),  Southwest (+2.1%),  Mid-Atlantic (+1.9%), Northeast (+1.7%) and the West (+1.2%).

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GM Corp Card

General Motors made it official Thursday that it is consolidating all employee corporate charge cards into a single, multifunctional Citibank card supported by a single expense summary and management system. The new corporate card solution will be Intranet based. GM expects the program to be fully functional within one year and projects it will save 93%, or $3.7 million over current processes, by eliminating costs associated with the handling of paper expense reports. The move will be the largest corporate charge card initiative in the world involving 100,000 GM and Delphi employees in North America. GM currently uses a total of eight different cards for four business processes including: corporate travel; telephone calls; fleet purchases; and indirect material purchases. Citibank’s e-Citi Group won the contract and will team with Captura Software of Bothell, WA, to provide the global Intranet-based system. GM says it will expand the program internationally after the North American phase is completed.

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MBNA-EarthLink

MBNA confirmed Thursday it has signed EarthLink, a large Internet service provider, to a multi-year affinity card deal. The MBNA-issued card will be marketed to EarthLink’s more than 815,000 members. The ‘EarthLink MBNA’ credit card program will earn EarthLink members rewards at the EarthLink Mall when the card is used for online purchases and certain in-store transactions. Headquartered in Pasadena, CA, EarthLink provides Internet access and hosting solutions to thousands of communities internationally from more than 1,700 points of presence. EarthLink and Sprint jointly launched a phone services and credit card program in 1992.

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NSA Smart Card

Atmel Corp. Thursday announced its participation in the Forte’ Project led by Litronic in partnership with the National Security Agency.

Atmel will deliver a 32-bit ARM-based Smart Card chip design that includes a high-speed Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface, high capacity EEPROM, ROM and several different hardware encryption engines among other features. Atmel was chosen by Litronic for its ability to combine multiple technologies into a system level integration solution for the next generation FORTEZZA cards currently used by the U.S. government.

Placing the features of the FORTEZZA system on a Smart Card is much more cost effective than the PCMCIA cards in use today. No other Smart Card chip design integrates as many functional features as the Forte’ design. This chip is the first to offer practical on-board bulk or stream encryption. It is the first single chip Smart Card solution to provide FIPS 140-1 level 3 security, high performance multiple encryption technology, and multi-application support.

The Forte’ chip will leverage Atmel’s superior EEPROM technology to provide high memory density combined with a large ROM capacity other logic and analog structures to essentially form a system-on-a-chip for multi-application use.

The Atmel device incorporates cryptographic engines including a fast-math coprocessor for RSA and DSA function, Atmel’s proprietary DES engine and a newly developed SkipJack engine. Atmel has integrated a randomizer that was developed in concert with the NSA, allowing true random number generation for more secure key generation. Atmel will provide all product hardware development and manufacturing within U.S. borders; Litronic will provide the firmware, also developed here in the United States.

Bob Gray, vice president of product development for Litronic said, “Atmel is enabling industry leaders like Litronic to extend our leadership in high-growth markets. Atmel’s expertise with regard to reducing system costs and complexity while speeding our time to market was a key factor in selecting them for this project. In addition, the design work on the device is provided by engineering support solely from Atmel’s design center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.”

Litronic provides multi-platform, standards-based security environments for government and commercial users. This total security solution includes software, enabling toolkits, supporting hardware, and professional services.

With more than eight years of experience providing innovative information security solutions, Litronic is an industry leader in the development and implementation of security technologies in the commercial and governmental sectors. For detailed company and product information visit the Litronic web site at [www.litronic.com][1].

The National Security Agency (NSA) Information Systems Security Organization (ISSO), network Security Group, is tasked with enabling network security solutions for its DOD customers. Project Forte’ reaffirms NSA’s commitment to enabling solutions that provide a broad range of cost, performance, and security trade-offs as well as support for its customers who have the need to communicate with business, government and financial sectors.

Participating with industrial partners in a technology-sharing venture such as this allows the Government to address its short-term interoperability needs while contributing to the robustness of COTS security products.

Founded in 1984, Atmel Corp. is headquartered in San Jose, with principal manufacturing facilities in Colorado Springs, Nantes and Rousset, France and Heilbronn, Germany.

Atmel designs, manufactures and markets on a worldwide basis advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory, and RF semiconductors. Atmel is also a leading provider of system level integration semiconductor solutions using advanced CMOS, BiCMOS, BiPolar and SiGe process technologies.

Atmel product and financial information are available from its Fax-on-Demand service. In North America call 800/292-8635 or Internationally, call 408/441-0732. Requests may be made via e-mail to [literature@atmel.com][2] or by visiting Atmel’s website at [www.atmel.com][3].

[1]: http://www.litronic.com
[2]: mailto:literature@atmel.com
[3]: http://www.atmel.com

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Cardxx Merger

Cardxx Inc., developer of a new, proprietary smartcard and intelligent tag production process, Wednesday announced its merger with International Interchange Corp. Cardxx manufactures smartcards for card issuers utilizing a process that securely encapsulates silicon microprocessors and/or antennae within a plastic card. The Cardxx manufacturing system utilizes a unique low pressure, room temperature production process. Because the process does not use high temperatures or pressures associated with the lamination process, the resulting encapsulated devices are not subjected to stresses which can adversely affect the performance of the card. Cardxx says its cards have a longer life, cannot be delaminated, contain 60% less PVC, take dye sublimation printing extremely well, and customers report that the cards have 10 to 25% greater read range.

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