USA Tech 3Q

USA Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday that revenues for the three months ended September 30, 1998 were $792,459, compared with revenues of $359,413 for the same period last year.  The company also reported a net loss of $(670,481), or a net loss of ($0.03) per share, for the three months ended September 30, 1998, compared with a net loss of $(660,524), or a net loss of $(0.06) per share, for the same period last year.

“We are quite pleased to report another quarter with triple-digit revenue growth, as it is another indication  that USA is on-track toward profitability,” said George R. Jensen, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of USA Technologies.  “In addition we are confident that the results of the current quarter will far surpass the numbers for our first quarter. We are currently expecting second-quarter revenues of approximately $1.8 million, which would equal the entire revenue intake for our 1998 fiscal year.”

Incorporating its patented TransAct technology, USA Technologies markets a variety of credit card-activated products to the hospitality industry.  These products include MBE Business Express, a 24-hour, full service business center; Laptop Dataport Express, a functional workstation featuring 24-hour, laptop connectivity to a dataport, printer and public telephone; and, Public PC, a state-of-the-art IBM computer and printer. All products are serviced and maintained by IBM Global Services.

“Our substantial growth is driven by a strategic execution agreement with IBM Global Services to install and support our patented technology,” continued Jensen.  “IBM Global Services provides a variety of critical services for our product line, including installation, financing of inventory, procurement, configuration of computer systems, equipment service and maintenance and operation of a customer support call center.  This agreement has allowed USA to execute rapidly on a national level.”

USA Technologies is the developer and owner of TransAct, a proprietary technology that allows consumers to purchase items costing as little as one dollar, using their credit cards.  These transactions were once cost- prohibitive, but USA’s TransAct technology is quickly making the “cashless revolution” a reality.  TransAct’s patented technology is already in use nationwide in the form of MBE Business Express, a joint venture product with Mail Boxes Etc. Activated with a credit card utilizing TransAct, Business Express is a self-serve, automated business center, allowing the use of a computer, the internet, a photocopier, printer and fax machine 24- hours per day.  In addition to Business Express, USA also markets the Public PC and Laptop Dataport Express.

USA Technologies is a leading owner and licensor of networked credit card- activated control systems for the personal computer, photocopier, facsimile and laptop printing capabilities.  The company’s proprietary technologies make available unattended, point-of-sale control systems for credit card payments. Visit the USA Technologies message board at and USA’s web site at .

USA Technologies
Condensed Statement of Operations
(unaudited)

                                             Three Months Ended
                                                September 30,

                                     1998                    1997
    Total revenues               $712,294                $310,311
    Net loss                    (670,481)               (660,524)
    Loss per common share          (0.03)                  (0.06)
    Weighted avg. number of
     common shares outstanding 40,229,122              27,287,669

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Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving, dubbed “Black Friday” by the retail industry, may be the best day for retail sales in four years. The National Retail Federation has projected an 8% rise in retail sales this year. The December issue of CardTrak, released this morning, says the combination of a high stock market and low interest rates may produce an epidemic of plastic fever beginning this Friday. CardTrak says the peak shopping day of Nov 27 will see consumers using their credit cards more than 6,000 times per second generating charges of nearly $450,000 per second. According to the American Express Retail Index on holiday shopping, 39% of shoppers plan to hit the stores on “Black Friday”, slightly higher than the 34% last year. AmEx says the hottest gift items for kinds this year will be: Teletubbies, Spice Girls merchandise, Rugrats dolls and toys, Beanie Babies, Tigger/Winnie-the-Pooh items, Star Wars items, Godzilla and action figures.

Holiday Card Purchases By The Clock
Per Day Per Hour Per Min Per Sec
Major Credit Cards $2.96 b $124.0 m $2.1 m $34,309
Store Credit Cards      $ 511 m     $ 21.3 m    $355,000   $ 5,911
Natl Debit Cards        $ 471 m     $ 19.6 m    $327,381   $ 5,456
Total                   $3.95 b     $164.6 m    $2.74 m    $45,717

Holiday Card Transactions By The Clock
                        Per Day     Per Hour    Per Min    Per Sec
Major Credit Cards      41.8 m     1.74 m      29,017      484
Store Credit Cards        8.6 m      357,143      5,952       99
Natl Debit Cards         12.6 m      526,785      8,779      146
Total                    63.0 m       2.6 m      43,775      729
m-millions  b-billions  Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Macy’s Online

Federated Department Stores says it is has partnered with IBM to re-launch its Internet site in time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The new macys.com site includes more than 250,000 merchandise items from across the Macy’s department store assortment. The online store offers other unique options such as a ‘Gift Wizard’ to help customers find gifts for family and friends; ‘E-Club’, which provides a more personalized online shopping experience by storing birthdays, anniversaries, shipping       addresses and other pertinent information for customers; and an updated and expanded ‘Bridal Registry’ that for the first time encompasses couples registered at all 186 Macy’s stores nationwide.

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Smart Phones

U.S. West says this morning it is enhancing its advanced payphone system by installing more than 5,000 Nortel Networks new ‘Millennium MultiPay MultiApplication’ payphones. The new terminals provide an advanced service delivery platform that is capable of offering future services such as acceptance of multiapplication smart card schemes, smart card reloading, sophisticated dialing features, and promotional and loyalty programs. The terminal will also support U.S. West’s goal of obtaining global smart card interoperability with several major emerging smart card schemes. There are currently more than 160,000 ‘Millennium’ payphones throughout North America.

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Mellon Goes PeriWeb

Customers at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Bank can now perform all of their banking transactions without ever entering a branch or even using a telephone. PeriWeb, a robust software environment for Internet-based transaction processing services from Periphonics Corporation , a leading worldwide provider of products and services for call processing solutions used in Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and Telecom Enhanced Network Services, has made all of Mellon’s telephone-based Interactive Voice Response (IVR) services available to customers accessing the bank’s website, [www.Bank-by-Web.mellon.com][1].

“We were anxious to offer Bank-by-Web and Web Bill-Paying in order to round out our interactive offering to our MellonDirect 24 banking customers,” stated David Spier, manager of Internet and PC banking at Mellon Bank. “We had been offering 24-hour touch-tone based service with an IVR system from Periphonics for a number of years. We needed to add a web access option in order to remain competitive. PeriWeb enabled us to make all of the bank’s telephone-based services available to customers accessing Mellon’s website.”

PeriWeb supports web browser-based access to new and existing IVR applications. Mellon was able to port all of its existing IVR applications over to its website with no need for re-programming. Using PeriProducer, Periphonics’ GUI development tool, new applications can be designed for phone and web access or for web access only.

In discussing PeriProducer, Spier said, “I can’t say enough about the ease of use of the Periphonics GUI tools that were used to build the web pages. Our staff programmer who built our web page had never even been on the Internet, let alone built a web page. Incredibly, she was able to take on the task immediately after minimal training.”

The system went live in June and was used by over one percent of Mellon’s customer base during the month of July. The average customer uses it three to four times a month. Recent statistics show that the Bank-by-Phone phone lines receive 147,000 calls each week, while the web site is visited an average of 9,000 times per week.

The advantages provided by web banking are not limited to the customers. When customers perform banking transactions via the web, agents are free to perform more complex or income-generating functions. Additional savings are incurred by the bank because of a reduction in use of the bank’s toll-free 800-number. Each time a customer performs a transaction by web instead of by phone, the bank saves eight cents a minute on access to their 800 number.

About Periphonics

Periphonics Corporation develops, markets and supports products and professional services for Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and for Telecom Enhanced Network Services using technologies such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), speech input, messaging, fax and Web browsers. The Company’s products and services automate call and transaction processing, increase call center agent productivity, and often create new revenue streams for its customers. Headquartered in Bohemia, New York (Long Island), Periphonics has systems installed in more than 50 countries worldwide.

About Mellon Bank

A broad-based financial services company with a bank at its core, Mellon Bank Corporation ranks among the nation’s largest bank holding companies in market capitalization. With approximately $350 billion of assets under management and nearly $1.8 trillion of assets under administration, Mellon provides a full range of banking, investment and trust products and services to individuals and small, midsize and large businesses and institutions. Its mutual fund companies, The Dreyfus Corporation and Founders Asset Management, place Mellon as the leading bank manager of mutual funds. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Mellon’s principal subsidiary is Mellon Bank, N.A.

[1]: http://www.bank-by-web.mellon.com

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Aussie Smart Card Plant

American Banknote Corporation (NYSE: ABN) today reported that its subsidiary, Leigh-Mardon, Australia’s largest plastic and smart card manufacturer, has established a joint venture with French-based Gemplus, the world leader in smart card development and manufacture.

The Gemplus – Leigh-Mardon joint venture is being established to manufacture smart cards in Melbourne and market smart card based solutions in Australia and New Zealand.  This comes in response to growing demand for these products and solutions in the region.  Regarded increasingly as an important component in the information technology industry, the smart card is emerging to meet demands created by the explosive growth of digital computing, media and communications throughout the world.

The joint venture will have access to the latest products and technologies designed and developed by Gemplus, including those for banking, transportation, healthcare, and communications.  This will enable the joint venture to take an active and leading role in the applications where the smart card is experiencing dynamic growth.  Key areas for smart card growth include GSM/Mobile Telecommunications, Multimedia/Internet, and Payment and Multi-Application smart cards.

The Victorian government has embraced Gemplus smart card technology for its goal of placing all government and community services online by the year 2001.

Morris Weissman, Chairman and CEO, stated, “We look forward to working with Gemplus on smart card projects.  We believe that the market for these cards is already worth A$50 million and that it will double within three to four years.”

American Banknote Corporation is a leading global full-service provider of secure transaction solutions in carefully selected markets along three major product groups: Transaction Cards & Systems, Printing Services & Document Management, and Security Printing Solutions.  A combined strategy of operating along product lines and constant expansion of transaction activities worldwide reflects the rapidly changing field of electronic commerce.

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Overflow Biller

USCS International Inc. announced Tuesday that Capital One Bank signed a contract with USCS’s International Billing Services subsidiary designating it as the statement processing vendor for all overflow volumes. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, which demonstrates IBS’s continued expansion into the financial services market, IBS is prepared to provide statement processing services based on the variable needs of Capital One Bank.

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Magic Line 3Q

Magic Line, Inc., the Midwest’s largest electronic funds transfer (EFT) network, released Tuesday its record 1997-1998 fiscal yearend statistics (see following chart), as it maintains its dominance in Michigan with over 95% of all banks and credit unions.  Over the last year, Magic Line’s membership increased by 28 in Michigan and 20 in Illinois, where it holds nearly 60% share of the Downstate area.  In Indiana, a steady growth results in a 46% market share.  Magic Line attributes its banner year to this expanding market penetration and the fact that more and more members are turning to Magic Line for technology solutions.

As of fiscal yearend 1998, Magic Line cardholders increased by one million from 14.9 million in 1997 to 15.9 million in 1998.  For the month of August, POS transaction volume hit record levels, increasing from 2,492,950 online transactions in 1997 to 3,393,088 in 1998, up 36%, and from 1,110,660 offline transactions in 1997 to 1,508,254 in 1998, up 36%.  Total transactions for the year grew by 14 million from 165 million in 1997 to 179 million in 1998.

In its continuing efforts to meet the processing needs of financial institutions, Magic Line’s ATM terminal driving rose 27% and over 400 banks and credit unions with over 600,000 cardholders use Magic Line for offline debit services, an 18% increase.

“Magic Line’s support of debit products and services and our fiscal yearend growth reflect a major industry trend.  Consumer acceptance of electronic delivery, and the demand for its convenience, are rapidly growing,” said John G. Bascom, president and chief executive officer of Magic Line, Inc.

As one of the top regional EFT networks linked throughout the United States and globally, Magic Line supports 15.9 million cardholders with access to over 180,000 ATM, POS and remote banking terminals.  Magic Line processes over 16.5 million transactions monthly and serves over 1,042 banks, credit unions and thrifts in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri 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.  Magic Line’s Internet Web Site address is [http://www.magicline.com][1].

    Magic Line, Inc.
    1997-98 Fiscal Yearend Statistics

    1998 Magic Line Membership
    Overall:   Membership increased to 1,042 financial institutions
    Michigan:  95% of financial institutions, increased by 28
    Illinois:  59% share of the Downstate area, increased by 20
    Indiana:   46% market share

    Number of cardholders:  15.9 million, up from 14.9 million

    Monthly (August) POS volume:
    Online transactions up 36% from 2,492,950 in 1997 to 3,393,088 in 1998
    Offline transactions up 36% from 1,110,660 in 1997 to 1,508,254 in 1998

    1998 Total Transactions:  up 14 million, from 165 million in 1997 to
                              179 million

    ATM Terminal Driving:  Number of ATMs up 27%

    Offline Debit Service:  Number of customers up 18%

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

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AmEx Gift Card

The gift card market is drawing-in all players this holiday season as Tower Records and American Express launched the ‘Tower Gift Card’ yesterday. Tower, the world’s largest independent music and entertainment retailer, will offer the new gift card in its U.S. retail locations and through its on-line store. Cards issued at a Tower sales counter can be purchased for any amount from $10-$100. Cards issued from Tower Records’ Website and through its call center are available in denominations of $10, $25, $50, $75 and $100. The cards have no expiration date. Tower operates 217 record, video and book stores, 2 art galleries and 6 outlet stores. Tower Records joins Chanel as one of two retailers to participate in the American Express ‘Gift Card’ pilot program.

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Smart Card Initiatives

The Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA), continuing its mission of promoting alliances within the smart card industry, Monday announced initiatives resulting from the first Smart Card Global Summit, held with the support of the Smart Card Forum (SCF) and the Smart Card Industry Association (SCIA).  The first in a series of bi-annual Global Summits, held on November 1-2 in Long Beach, Calif., the summit made smart card history by drawing leading non-profit smart card organizations together to guarantee the continued success of the industry.  Other participants included The Advanced Card Technology Association of Canada (ACT Canada), The Dutch National Chipcard Platform (NCP), The OpenCard Consortium, and The Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA). Attending organizations unanimously agreed to work together on five initiatives that will ensure continued worldwide success of smart cards as well as fuel developments in smart card interoperability and consumer privacy.

“Industry collaboration on initiatives such as consumer protection, a common infrastructure, and security is vital to the growth of global smart card adoption,” said David Anastasi, president of the GCA and vice president & general manager of U S WEST Public Access Solutions & Smart Card Division. “By founding and hosting the first Global Summit, we are proud to have begun the process of bringing key industry organizations together to collectively address obstacles hampering the global adoption of smart cards.  We forsee an effort in which summit participants share a common vision and support the designed initiatives and then spread them at a grassroots level locally and internationally.  Through business alliances and industry collaboration we can conquer the challenges that lie ahead for the industry,” added Anastasi.

Participants agreed to co-operate on five initiatives and designated representatives from individual organizations to ensure continued focus after the Summit.  In addition, they plan to develop a collection of tutorials on the state of the industry, smart card technologies, interoperability issues, privacy concerns, and security options.  These tutorials will be made available throughout 1999.  The collaborative initiatives that participants agreed upon include:

—  Industry-wide collaboration among non-profit smart card organizations     —  Development of a framework designed to create a common vision     —  Consumer privacy     —  Interoperability     —  Technology infrastructure

“Our goal is to examine what it will take to make interoperable smart card platforms feasible worldwide,” said William J. Barr, Chairman of the Board of the SCF and Executive Director of Information Networking at Bellcore.  “We look forward to working with our partners across industry sectors to overcome the technological and political hurdles to maximize the potential for global smart card use.”

“SCIA will help support these efforts to establish ways to enhance smart card industry-wide collaboration,” said Dan Cunningham, president of SCIA. “Collaboration is the keystone to establishing a global smart card community that will guarantee smart card use worldwide.”

The Smart Card Global Summit participants have agreed to host future summits on a bi-annual basis with informal meetings or conference calls when needed.  Upcoming Smart Card Global Summits are to be held at Card Tech/Secure Tech in Chicago, May 1999 and Cartes 99 in Paris, November 1999.

“This smart card summit was a unique opportunity to work with other leading non-profit card organizations,” said J. van Arkel, Secretary General of The Dutch National Chipcard Platform.

“We anticipate increased interest and involvement as we continue to meet around the world.”

The Global Summit welcomes additional non-profit smart card industry participants and sponsors.  For more information, contact Sheryle Wells at [sdwells@uswest.com][1].

Note: David Anastasi, president of the GCA is chairing Cards UK’98 in Birmingham, UK on November 24 and is speaking on the future evolution of smart card technology.

About The Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA)

The Global Chipcard Alliance was established in 1996 and comprises 30 member companies worldwide.  Its mission, to create an environment that accelerates the development of multi-functional smart card (chipcard) technology and related applications.  The GCA fosters business alliances that have a commitment to worldwide, open interoperable networks, public advocacy, the endorsement of standards and specifications, and advancement of cross- industry multiple-applications and solutions, electronic commerce, and communications-enabled applications and solutions.  For more information on the Global Chipcard Alliance visit its Website at [http://www.chipcard.org][2].

About The Smart Card Forum (SCF)

The Smart Card Forum is a multi-industry organization of 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.  For more information about the SCF, please visit their website at [http://www.smartcardforum.org][3].

About The Smart Card Industry Association (SCIA)

The Smart Card Industry Association is a global trade association active in the smart card industry which strives to stimulate the adoption, use, understanding and innovation of smart card technology in the marketplace.  For more information about the SCIA, please visit their website at .

About The Advanced Card Technology Association of Canada (ACT Canada)

The Advanced Card Technology Association of Canada represents more than 100 members from around the world.  A non-profit association formed in 1989, ACT Canada represents all advanced card technologies, including smart cards. Its mandate is to promote broad based acceptance of the technology and related applications.  In this role, ACT Canada is not an industry association or user group, but provides a voice for the technologies themselves.  In this capacity, ACT Canada works with legislators, regulators, governments, corporations and the media.

About The Dutch National Chipcard Platform

For information on the National Chipcard Platform visit its website at , or contact the organization directly at Postbus 262, 2260 AG Leidschendam, telephone 31-70-3010817 or fax 31-70-3206614.

About The OpenCard Consortium (OCC)

The OpenCard Consortium was formed in early 1998 to address the interoperability of smart cards and computing devices.  The Consortium has developed the OpenCard Framework (OCF) as an open standard providing architecture and a set of APIs that enable application developers and service providers to build and deploy smart card-based solutions in any OpenCard- compliant environment.  With 15 current members and growing, the Consortium brings together the technology providers as well as smart card users, with the objective of insuring that the specifications meet the requirements of all stakeholders.  Based on Java technology, OCF provides a common interface for both the smart card reader and the application on the card, with enhanced portability and interoperability.  Additional information on the OpenCard Consortium is available on the World Wide Web at .

About Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA)

PCMCIA is an international standards body and trade association for the modular peripheral industry. Founded in 1989 to establish standards for interface cards, the association promotes the interoperability of handheld devices where ruggedness, low power and small size are critical. The PC Card standard is used in applications ranging from notebook computers and handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs) to digital cameras, smart cellular phones and set-top boxes. In addition to the PC Card standard, PCMCIA manages the Miniature Card, Smart Media, CardBus and emerging Card X standards.  Based in San Jose, California, the association has more than 300 member companies worldwide. More information about PC Card products and specifications can be obtained from the PCMCIA Website at .

[1]: mailto:sdwells@uswest.com
[2]: http://www.chipcard.com
[3]: http://www.smarcardforum.org

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ATM Alert

Mellon Network Services announced Monday it is offering ATM Alert, an advanced 24-hour monitoring system to help financial institutions manage their automated teller machine networks. The new system uses the industry’s next-generation Gasper4 software package to identify ATM problems quickly and accurately to keep downtime to a minimum.

The system automatically detects a problem at an ATM and calls or pages the financial institution’s technicians with a description and location of the problem.  All of this happens instantaneously, which greatly enhances ATM network service levels.

“ATM Alert helps financial institutions improve customer service,” said Paul A. Frank, head of Mellon Network Services.  “Maximizing ATM uptime also is essential to increasing both cardholder satisfaction and ATM profitability. Our new system creates value for Mellon Network Services’ clients and further demonstrates our continued commitment to ‘best in class’ processing.”

In addition to automatically notifying technicians of ATM problems, ATM Alert also enables financial institutions to review the status of their entire ATM network at any time by using a touch-tone phone and easy-to-follow prompts.

A leading provider of ATM and debit card processing, Mellon Network Services ranks among the top ATM processors in the country, driving 5,000 ATMs and providing 35 regional, national and international ATM and point of service (POS) gateways for more than 2,000 financial institutions.

A broad-based financial services company with a bank at its core, Mellon Bank Corporation ranks among the nation’s largest bank holding companies in market capitalization.  With approximately $2 trillion in assets under management or administration, including approximately $350 billion under management, Mellon provides a full range of banking, investment and trust products and services to individuals and small, midsize and large businesses and institutions.  Its mutual fund companies, The Dreyfus Corporation and Founders Asset Management, place Mellon as the leading bank manager of mutual funds.  Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Mellon’s principal subsidiary is Mellon Bank, N.A.

Press releases and other information about Mellon Bank Corporation and its products and services are available at on the Internet.  For Mellon press releases by fax, call 1-800-758-5804, identification number 552187.

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ECHO 3Q

Electronic Clearing House Inc. Monday announced record revenues and earnings for its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 1998.

Revenue for the fiscal year 1998 totaled a record $21,063,000, a 13 percent increase over revenues of $18,623,000 for fiscal year 1997. Net income for the fiscal year 1998 rose to $1,154,000, $0.077 per basic share and $0.053 per diluted share, resulting in a 252 percent increase over comparable net income of $328,000, $0.025 per basic share and $0.017 per diluted share, in fiscal year 1997.

Revenue from bankcard processing and transaction processing increased from $16,007,000 in fiscal 1997 to a record $18,773,000 in fiscal 1998, a 17 percent increase. Terminal sales and lease revenue decreased from $2,348,000 in fiscal 1997 to $2,055,000 in fiscal 1998, a 12 percent decrease.

ECHO is a national transaction processor serving thousands of small- to medium-sized merchants and several thousand U-Haul dealers under a contract with U-Haul International. ECHO’s transaction-based services generate ongoing revenue each month that provides a consistent and growing income stream. ECHO transaction services include credit card processing, electronic check generation, cash advance services to casinos, Internet settlement services and inventory tracking.

ECHO’s Internet settlement services include direct acceptance of transactions over the Internet from a customer, a merchant or an Internet Service Provider (ISP) who serves many merchants. ECHO was one of the first and still one of the few processors who can directly and confidently accept Internet-based credit card transactions and electronically settle all funds distribution for both the customer and merchant without any active involvement by the merchant.

ECHO’s Internet suite of products includes fulfillment monitoring and the ECHOlink service which allows a merchant to access and respond to all transaction activity, including chargeback and retrieval requests, using the Internet.

ECHO is also a system design specialist and develops software and proprietary hardware for major accounts who wish to automate their transaction processing activities. In addition to its own transaction processing systems, ECHO has designed transaction processing systems for American Express (money order issuance and tracking applications), U-Haul International (inventory and dealer payment tracking applications) and the United States Postal Service (money order issuance and daily accounting tracking systems).

“Our growth in earnings can be directly attributed to ECHO’s proven ability to design, integrate, manage and sell services based on point-of-sale, Internet, and host-based financial transaction processing systems,” stated Joel Barry, CEO of ECHO, “and we believe ECHO’s growing technical capabilities in these areas gives ECHO a distinctive advantage over other less technical processors.”

Electronic Clearing House provides credit card processing, check guarantee, inventory tracking services and various Internet services to more than 17,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation. Through its subsidiary, Computer Based Controls, ECHO designs, develops and manufactures software and point-of-sale hardware that is utilized as credit card processing terminals, automated money order dispensers, utility bill payment systems, and inventory tracking devices.

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