Fair, Isaac Makes Forbes List

Singled out as a ‘superstar,’ Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. ranked 117 in Forbes’ annual list of “The 200 Best Small Companies.” This marks the sixth time that the leader in decision-making technology has appeared on the national business magazine’s annual list of top companies. Fair, Isaac is also one of just two San Francisco Bay Area companies to make the elite 1998 Honor Roll, which recognizes those businesses that outperformed others on the list with better-than-average returns and exceptional growth and that have appeared repeatedly on the “200 Best” list.

“Going forward, Fair, Isaac remains committed to developing ever more intelligent data-driven decision-making solutions,” said Fair, Isaac president and chief executive officer Larry Rosenberger. “The goal is to help our clients find better ways to acquire more good customers and to keep them longer by providing them with the products and services they really want.”

The 200 companies highlighted in the November 2 issue of Forbes are selected from a database of more than 11,000 public companies with annual sales of five to $350 million.

Candidates for the Forbes’ ranking are analyzed through a computerized screening and series of financial analyses on future profitability. Return on equity and share value continue to play a key role in the screening process. Fair, Isaac beat the list’s median five-year return on equity and showed a strong balance sheet that outshines 45 percent of its colleagues on the list.


VISA Support

With the growing support of MULTOS and this week’s announcement by Microsoft to enter the smart card arena VISA announced yesterday that seven French banks are set to work with Carte Bleue and VISA International on a smart card program using the ‘VISA Open Platform’. Other supporters of ‘VISA Open Platform’ for smart cards include Citibank, Proton World International and Visa Espana. The French program will start next year and will involve active participation by seven banks, including BNP, Banques Populaires, Caisses d’Epargne, CCF, Credit Lyonnais, La Poste, and Societe Generale. The ‘VISA Open Platform’ was first piloted four months ago in Singapore.  Standard Chartered Bank and Visa have tested a multi-function smart card among bank employees and customers, offering a credit application, loyalty program, a bank relationship application, and a security function for shopping on the Internet.


Concord EFS Sponsors EFTA EBT

Concord EFS, a leader in electronic transaction authorization, processing, settlement and funds transfer services in selected markets, has agreed to co-sponsor the Electronic Funds Transfer Association’s upcoming conference on Electronic Benefits Transfer.

The conference, called “EBT–The Next Generation,” will take place Nov. 8-10 at the Mariott Metro Center in Washington. It is being hosted by EFTA’s EBT Industry Council.

In making the announcement, EFTA Executive Director H. Kurt Helwig said, “Concord’s support of EBT–The Next Generation is further evidence of its vision and and leadership in the field of electronic funds transfer.”

Helwig noted that Concord EFS joins a long list of conference sponsors that include Citicorp Services Inc., a developer and operator of debit card systems; Burger, Carroll & Associates Inc., a leading management and technology consulting company; and Deluxe Electronic Payments Systems, a major provider of electronic-funds transfer services and solutions.

“Concord EFS joins a long list of companies that have put their faith in our EBT Industry Council’s leadership with respect to the business and policy issues of future EBT technology,” said Helwig.

About Concord EFS

Concord EFS, a publicly traded company headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., is a widely recognized name in the supermarket, petroleum, retail and fleet management areas of electronic payment services.

Founded in 1970, Concord EFS has earned over 35 endorsements from wholesalers and associations such as the National Grocers Association. For more information, visit its web site at .

About EBT–The Next Generation

EBT–The Next Generation is a national conference to examine the conversion of existing government services from paper documentation to electronic payment technologies, the Internet and interactive media.

The conference will feature government and industry leaders in seminars on such topics as cost sharing partnerships, multi-program integration, recreational card services, digitized drivers licenses, campus cards and retail delivery systems.

For more information on EBT–The Next Generation, please visit the EFTA web site at .

About the EBT Industry Council

EFTA’s EBT Industry Council is the nation’s longest standing trade group dedicated to the business and policy issues involved in electronic benefits transfer systems. Its members include EBT processors, suppliers, equipment manufacturers and consultants. Current members include EDS, Deluxe EPS and Transaction Network Services.

About the Electronic Funds Transfer Association

Now in its third decade, the Electronic Funds Transfer Association is the nation’s leading inter-industry trade association dedicated to electronic commerce and payments. EFTA members include Diebold Inc., Fleet Financial Group, Mag-Tek Inc., and Comerica Bank.


Online Privacy

In response to this week’s decision by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to issue non-binding privacy guidelines for financial institutions, First Data Direct Banking unveiled a turnkey program yesterday that guides its ‘NetPrecision Home Banking’ clients through the creation and posting of consumer privacy policies on their Web sites. The company took a three-pronged approach to the privacy issue: First, it developed a suite of tools that includes a checklist, sample policies, an implementation guide and links to knowledgeable sources of information to guide financial institution clients who have not yet developed privacy policies through the necessary steps. Next, it developed an expedited process to aid existing clients to post privacy policies on their sites. Finally, it has integrated the development of privacy policies into its proprietary ‘NetSpeed’ implementation process. The FTC recently surveyed some 1,400 Web sites and found that while more than 90% collected information from visitors, only 14% disclosed how that information would be used. Only a slightly higher number of bank Web sites — 17% — were found to have posted information policies.


Racom Contracts with Iris

Racom Systems Inc. , a leading provider of contactless smart card technology solutions, announced it has signed a manufacturing and marketing agreement with Iris Technologies of Malaysia (IRIS).

The agreement calls for Racom to contract its smart card and reader manufacturing to IRIS for several contracts that are in various stages of development. IRIS will use Racom’s marketing organization as its representative for smart card and peripheral equipment sales. The companies will also work jointly to design and develop new applications for the smart card market.

“This agreement is significant for Racom as we shift our focus from product manufacturing to becoming a technology provider of contactless distributed control technology,” says Art Rancis, Racom’s president and CEO. “Partnering with an industry leader like IRIS Technologies allows Racom to market its contactless smart card and RFID technologies without the burden and expense of operating a manufacturing facility.”

Racom designs and markets a broad range of turnkey smart card systems for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, education, transportation and more. It offers a unique combination of intellectual property, radio frequency engineering and contactless smart card systems design and implementation. Racom’s core technology encompasses patented ferroelectric memory technology, radio frequency technology, communications software and encryption software. The company’s core technology is protected by more than 100 patents that has been adopted by more than 100 customers.

“Racom is clearly a technology leader within the industrial, contactless smart card marketplace and we look forward to assisting them in serving this expanding market,” says Tan Say Jim, managing director for IRIS. “Their strategy of outsourcing the manufacturing of smart cards and equipment will allow Racom to build upon its leadership role and develop the most advanced technical solutions available.”

About IRIS Technologies

IRIS Technologies is a leading manufacturer of smart card systems and peripherals based in Malaysia, where it operates from a 330,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility. The company has developed an integrated smart card technology process called Image Retrieval and Identification System, which is capable of providing very high identification and verification security. IRIS has extensive experience manufacturing both contact and contactless smart cards for customers around the world.

About Racom Systems Inc.

Racom Systems Inc., headquartered in Denver, Colo., develops and markets smart card-based technologies that automate transactions for electronic commerce, information technology, physical and logical access control, and industrial automation. Racom solutions provide secure, convenient and personalized access to money, information, property, and services. For further information about Racom, its technology and products, contact Racom at its Web address, , by telephone at 303/771-2077, or by fax at 303/771-4708.


Technology Survey

A major international poll released today reveals that Americans and consumers worldwide favor home-based voting via the Internet.

The survey also provides perspective about worldwide Internet usage and other consumer opinions about technology’s role in retail, government and education.

Some 60 percent of U.S. respondents agreed that voting from home via the Internet would increase their participation in the electoral process. This compares to 52 percent of British respondents, 51 percent of those polled from Sweden and 47 percent from Germany. With only a 35 percent positive response, the French were far less enthusiastic about using technology for home voting; 63 percent of respondents in France were against the idea of home voting.

The study, sponsored by ICL, a leading supplier of IT systems and services in more than 70 countries worldwide, is one of the first international comparisons of how technology has affected consumer attitudes, lifestyles and shopping habits. During the summer of 1998, 3,500 confidential telephone and face-to-face interviews were conducted with residents in five countries: the United States, France, Germany, Great Britain and Sweden. The questionnaires for each country were similar, with adjustments only when necessary to ensure questions were relevant to that particular country and culture. The research was conducted and tabulated by Market Opinion Research International (MORI), based in London.

Other significant findings are listed on the following pages.


— Forty-nine percent of American and 46 percent of Swedish respondents currently are using the Internet and just 17 percent of the French are doing so. Asked why they are not using this technology, 43 percent of French respondents said it is not relevant to them. Internet usage in Germany (24 percent) is also comparatively low, with lack of interest (34 percent) cited as the main reason.

— Americans differ with much of the world regarding Internet regulation. While at least two-thirds of all those surveyed in Europe thought an independent body should govern the Internet, more Americans disagreed than agreed with this statement.

— Technophobia is still prevalent in France (50 percent) and Great Britain (45 percent). In each of these two countries, slightly more respondents agreed than disagreed with the statement, “I find technology such as personal computers confusing.” — Americans and Swedes (63 percent both) scored highest in their confidence in their countries’ technological prowess and leadership.


— Nearly half of all loyalty cardholders regularly make use of the points or rewards they have collected through their cards, including 45 percent of Americans, and 72 percent of the British. This was the case even though Americans, at 66 percent, were especially emphatic in disagreeing with the statement, “My loyalty cards make me shop more often at places that provided them.” Nearly half of all respondents from Great Britain and Germany also disagreed with the statement.

— Americans also appear more willing to explore alternatives to traditional shopping, such as the Internet. Only 60 percent of U.S. respondents indicated they will not change their shopping behavior, while that number was 80 percent in France.

— Thirty-seven percent of Americans polled would be interested in a weekly food shopping service that delivers to the home or workplace, while the French, at 27 percent, were least interested. The British expressed the highest interest with 41 percent responding positively.

— Supermarkets — when compared to airlines, banks, gas stations, insurance companies and independent retailers fared best when asked what types of organizations had most improved their customer service during the last decade. Some 72 percent of Americans, 81 percent of the British and 75 percent of the French surveyed thought supermarkets had most improved their service over the past decade.

Government and Education

— Americans (82 percent) are the most committed to using technology in education, while the French, at 59 percent, are the most uncertain about it.

— 70 percent of respondents from all five countries believed that technology will improve children’s education. Americans gave the schools an only slightly better than average grade for their use of technology to date.

— Americans were more likely to want electronic access to additional government information at libraries (28 percent) or at home via the Internet (27 percent). According to the British, supermarkets (30 percent) would be the best places to install government information access kiosks, while the town hall got most of the votes from French (42 percent) and German (32 percent) respondents.

A leading supplier of IT systems and services, London-based ICL operates in more than 70 countries worldwide. ICL’s retail systems division is based in Dallas. Employing more than 19,000, ICL posted 1997 revenues of 2.477.1 million pounds (approximately $4 billion) with a pretax profit of (pound)30 million pounds (approximately $51 million). The company implements IT systems for major projects and provides innovative services to a range of industries, including retail, finance, travel, telecommunications, and utilities, as well as education and local and central governments. ICL services include outsourcing, helpdesks, network services, Inter/intranets, electronic commerce solutions, interactive kiosks, smart card systems, digital cities and Web sites.

MORI is the largest full-service independent research firm in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1969 and based in London, it is best known for its political polling and worked for more than 500 public and private sector clients in 1997.

For more information, contact Roy Miller or Matt Ricketts at Michael A. Burns & Associates Public Relations at 214/521-8596, or via email, at [rmiller@mbapr.com][1] or [ricketts@mbapr.com][2].

[1]: mailto:rmiller@mbapr.com
[2]: mailto:ricketts@mbapr.com


Decision Optimizer

Austin, TX-based Trajecta, Inc released a predictive optimization solution that provides a dashboard for customer decisioning based on an integrated view of revenue, cost and risk. ‘Decision Optimizer 1.6’  takes data mining to the next level by providing a robust, multi-dimensional picture of a customer’s value over time. Most of the current decisioning tools merely look at a narrow field of risk or revenue possibilities. ‘Decision Optimizer’ allows companies to look forward, using patented nonlinear algorithms to generate the best possible strategic plan. Users can also test what-if scenarios against historical plans to analyze potential customer behaviors and to optimize responses to future strategic decisions.


SouthPark SmartCard

Gemplus and Product Technologies Inc. announced Thursday they have teamed to support the development of a major smart card gift certificate system at the SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, N.C. The gift certificate program at SouthPark Mall enables shoppers to buy a smart card-based gift certificate that can be encoded with $10, $20, $50, or $100 in monetary value. The ‘SouthPark’ system was developed using ICL’s SmartCity and the Gemplus ‘GPM271’ smart card. Mellon Network Services was the project’s system integrator and operates the ‘SmartCity’ processing platform under contract to Atlanta-based Smart Card Retail Systems, Inc..


PTI — Mellon

Paymentech agreed yesterday to acquire the merchant processing business of Mellon Bank.  Mellon Bank and Paymentech also agreed to an exclusive marketing and referral agreement under which the parties will market Paymentech’s processing services to Mellon Bank’s merchant customers through Mellon’s network of nearly 450 retail offices and cash management and corporate banking groups. Following this latest acquisition, Paymentech will add more than 46,000 merchants with approximately $5.3 billion in annual bankcard sales volume. The acquisition is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  The sale does not affect Mellon’s substantial electronic funds transfer processing business, which includes ATM terminal driving, debit card processing, off-line debit processing businesses and smart card stored value programs.



SmartDisk Corporation, a company focused on providing simple, innovative solutions that advance and enhance the use of miniature storage media and smart cards, announced yesterday that it has shipped its 250,000th product.  This shipment of Smarty, the smart card reader/writer, to Visa International, is a milestone both for SmartDisk, a nine-month old privately held company and for Fischer International Systems Corporation, its primary distribution arm.

On this significant occasion, SmartDisk is honoring Visa International with its first annual “Excellence in Technology” award for furthering the development and use of smart cards in the financial industry. The award will be presented today at CARTES 98.

Smarty plays an important role in Visa International’s Visa Platinum initiative, a smart card program in Visa’s Latin America and Caribbean region that enables cardholders to gain access to their account information over the Internet.  Smarty, a 3.5 inch floppy disk sized adapter, acts as the bridge between a smart card and a PC.

“We congratulate SmartDisk on its success and are very pleased to be recognized by SmartDisk for our contributions to emerging payment technologies,” said Philip Yen, Senior Vice President, Visa International. “SmartDisk is an important partner in our efforts to advance smart card acceptance and we were very pleased to be able to use the Smarty technology to facilitate the world’s first use of a payment card over the Internet. We look forward to continuing this relationship with them.”

“As a nine-month old company, we are delighted with the strong sales of our products: Smarty, the smart card reader/writer and FlashPath, the flash memory reader/writer,” said Michael S. Battaglia, President and CEO, SmartDisk Corporation. “This is the perfect occasion for SmartDisk to applaud Visa International, one of our most valued customers, for its innovative use of Smarty as a link between the Visa Platinum card and the PC.  We look forward to an ongoing and productive partnership with Visa International.”

About Smarty

The Smarty smart card reader/writer acts as a bridge between a smart card and a PC. Smarty has the same dimensions as a 3.5 inch floppy disk and includes a slot into which a smart card can be inserted. To use it, one simply inserts a smart card into the slot and slips Smarty into a PC’s floppy drive. Increasing use of smart cards in Asia, Europe and the U.S. is fueling a need for a versatile, economical card reader. Smarty fulfills this need, supporting electronic commerce, banking, health care, and government applications, and the high-level security that such transactions require including access control, network authentication and data certification.

About Visa

Visa, “the world’s best way to pay,” is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide with more volume than all other payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders.  Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including over eight million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction programs to enable and advance Internet commerce.  There are more than 620 million cards, which generate over US $1.2 trillion in annual volume. Visa is accepted  at more than 15 million worldwide locations, including at over 450,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is .

About SmartDisk Corporation

SmartDisk Corporation is a joint venture of Fischer International Systems Corporation (FISC) and Toshiba Corporation formed to develop, manufacture, market and distribute patented devices that provide simple, innovative solutions to advance and enhance the use of miniature storage media and smart cards. SmartDisk is the creator of patented-technology that allows for the viewing of images taken with digital cameras on personal computers via the floppy disk drive slot and for the reading and use of smart cards in the same fashion. Ownership of the company is split, 60% by FISC and 40% by Toshiba and others. SmartDisk is based in Naples, Florida, with international operations based in Tokyo, Japan. For more information, visit .



National Credit Management Group of Fort Lee and Edgewater, NJ, and its two principals agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges brought against them as part of “Operation Eraser,” a federal-state crackdown on fraudulent credit repair firms. The FTC charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act and the Credit Repair Organizations Act by making deceptive claims about their ability to improve consumers’ credit records and get them credit cards and by charging advance fees for these services. The FTC also charged the defendants with violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule by making unauthorized bank account debits, obtaining advance fees for “guaranteed” credit cards, and failing to disclose the true costs of their services. The proposed settlement would permanently ban the two principals from most credit-related business in the future, would ban them from check debiting, and would require that they pay $350,000 in redress. A court-appointed receiver shut down National Credit Management Group’s business in April. NCMG was a large company, doing business as 1-800-YES-CREDIT.