Check Central

Greenland Corp. made its first public demonstration of its new ‘Check Central’ check cashing machine yesterday. ‘Check Central’ is a system that integrates stand-alone check cashing ATM machines with a 24-hour back-office customer support operation all connected through proprietary computer software. Customers apply through any ‘Check Central ATM’ for a ‘Check Central Check Cashing Card’ . Operators are available 24 hours a day to assist customers, if needed, through telephone lines connected directly to each ‘Check Central ATM’. Once the application is approved and the card issued, the card allows customers to cash checks, up to a certain dollar limit, at any ‘Check Central ATM’ machine. The company says the new ATMs are intended for installation in convenience stores, liquor stores, grocery stores, shopping malls and other high-traffic locations. There are currently 6,000 check cashing stores in the U.S..


IRS Volume

The Internal Revenue Service announced yesterday it has reached agreements with Discover, MasterCard and American Express to accept credit cards for federal taxes. Beginning in 1999, U.S. taxpayers will be able to pay IRS bills either by calling a toll-free number or filing electronically. San Ramon, CA-based US Audiotex will handle the phone service. Discover cardholders will be able to use Intuit’s ‘TurboTax’ or ‘MacInTax’  tax preparation software to file their returns electronically and then pay using any NOVUS-issued card. A convenience fee, based on the size of the transaction, will be charged regardless of what option the taxpayer uses. VISA has not joined the acceptance group yet, reportedly holding out for a flat fee instead of a percentage of the transaction.


Sensar Secure ATM

Each day nearly 27 million people use ATMs for financial transactions.  Until now, the strongest measure of security was a four digit PIN number — easily forgotten or stolen. Securing billions of ATM transactions is no longer a “Mission Impossible.” ATMs around the world are getting ready to be secured with a state-of-the-art iris identification system.  Right now, the first working prototype of this futuristic technology for personal electronic identification is being demonstrated at Sensar’s world headquarters in Moorestown, NJ.

Customers of Nationwide Building Society, the U.K.’s largest savings and loan, are already using Sensar Secure iris identification ATMs.  The Sensar system was also used in the 1998 Nagano Olympics to ensure that high-powered rifles were kept in the hands of athletes and out of terrorists’ reach.

Sensar Secure ATMs are being installed in banks around the world and will be at banks in major cities around the U.S. very soon.

This fraud-proof identification system is more accurate than DNA testing and identifies customers in less than two seconds.  The Sensar system first takes a quick picture of your eye, using standard, everyday video cameras. Then it focuses in on the iris (the colored part) and maps it.  More than 250 points of information are immediately translated into a digital bar code. That bar code is then safely tucked away and stored on file with the bank. (All this technology is illustrated on giant TV monitor screens at Sensar’s “bank of the future.”)

With most financial service providers moving from cash to electronic transactions as a payment form, the need for a more secure, fraud-resistant, yet still user-friendly means of personal identification is critical, particularly at ATM locations where more than 10 billion transactions were processed in the U.S. last year alone.  The eye is the most data rich part of the body, making iris identification more accurate than any other personal electronic identification system available today.

The newly built Sensar-secure “bank of the future” prototype, located at Sensar’s headquarters in Moorestown, NJ, features an enrollment station, teller platform and two functioning ATMs.

Sensar predicts that within five years consumers will be able to use the system to check on stocks and bonds, cash checks, wire money, buy tickets to upcoming concerts, and even apply for large loans right at the ATM, 24 hours a day, because the bank will positively know the customer’s identity.

Sensar has a multi-million dollar development, distribution and supply agreement with Citicorp for direct marketing of its products into the financial services area.  The company also continues to explore cooperative marketing agreements with numerous ATM manufacturers worldwide, and has already formed strategic partnerships with NCR, Citicorp, OKI Electric of Tokyo and LG Electronics of Korea.

NCR, OKI, LG, and several other financial giants are currently testing pre-production versions of Sensar’s Iris Identification system.

According to Rob VanNaarden, Vice President of Sensar, limitations on transactions at ATMs and concerns about their security have plagued the financial services industry for years.  Until now, however, no solution was available that combined high accuracy and reliability with the ultimate in user friendliness.

“Sensar’s technology will enable banks to offer a broader range of high-value ATM services, thus improving customer services at the ATM and generating increased profit opportunities for financial institutions,” VanNaarden said.  “In addition, Sensar’s iris identification system delivers a powerful personal identification tool that enhances the security of ATM customers while increasing user friendliness by eliminating the need for remembering PIN numbers and, soon, even cards.”

Founded in 1993, Sensar was formed as a spin-off of the Sarnoff Corporation, formerly RCA Laboratories, an internationally acclaimed advanced technology research and development organization.  Many of the world’s most important breakthroughs in electronics during the past 50 years have been pioneered at Sarnoff, including color television and the liquid crystal display.  Sensar holds the exclusive licensing rights to computer-vision technology developed at Sarnoff for use on a worldwide basis that is being incorporated into the company’s iris identification system.

IriScan, Inc. of Mt. Laurel, NJ, holds the exclusive worldwide patents on the Iris Identification concept developed by Drs. Leonard Flom and Aran Safir and the software and process technology invented by Dr. John Daugman, Cambridge University, England.  Sensar uses, under license, the Iris Identification process developed and owned exclusively by IriScan.  IRISCAN is a trademark of IriScan, Inc. of Mt. Laurel, NJ, and is used by Sensar under license from IriScan, Inc.


New U.S. Wireless CEO

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. announced Thursday that Mr. Roger L. Peirce has been elected by the Board as the new CEO and Chairman.

He is to immediately succeed Evon Kelly who has resigned his CEO & Board position. Mr. Stambaugh, the former chairman, will remain a director and president. For the time being, the number of Board members will drop to six.

Mr. Peirce, 57, recently ended a distinguished 17 year career in the credit card and electronic commerce industry when he retired as group president of First Data Corporation’s Merchant Services Organization.

After joining FDC in 1994, Mr. Peirce grew FDC’s merchant processing business division into one that processed one out of every two Visa and MasterCard transactions in the United States.

Under Roger’s management, FDC’s Merchant Services unit grew from approximately $100 million in annual revenues into FDC’s largest single single business unit, representing 25% of the company, managing 5,500 employees, recording annual sales of $1 billion and pretax margins exceeding 25%.

Prior to joining FDC, Mr. Peirce spent thirteen years at VISA, becoming chief operating officer in 1989. Subsequently, Mr. Peirce was nominated to all five VISA Regional Boards, a position that only VISA’s CEO duplicated. During his tenure at VISA, Roger played a significant role in guiding the company into its current position as a global consumer payment force.

Mr. Peirce began his professional career at IBM, where he managed all IBM resources for several large development contracts to build VISA’s global systems. Roger attended San Jose University earning a BA in Mathematics.

USWDA President, Rod Stambaugh, commented, “Evon joined our company during a critical developmental period and brought stability, professionalism, and depth to us. I greatly respect and appreciate his contribution.

“I think all of us, especially Evon, simply could not pass up the opportunity to capture the influence, experience, accomplished history, contacts, industry, visibility, and brilliant strategies of a Roger Peirce. Roger brings a refreshing vision and energy that complements our technical competence and strategy.”

Roger Peirce commented, “Much of my career has been spent pursuing the vision of providing consumers with anytime, anywhere access to their financial resources. After being on the USWD Board for a short time, it became obvious that this company is uniquely positioned to accelerate achievement of the vision by bringing new markets into the world of electronic payments.

“The thought of greatly improving and expanding the current payment system through the use of wireless and Internet technologies became an irresistible attraction to my commitment to U.S. Wireless Data.”

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. has developed, tested and is now delivering new proprietary products, programs and standards for the transaction processing and credit card industry which utilizes wireless cellular digital packet data (CDPD) networks. USWD delivers the fastest and most cost-effective transaction processing solution to retail merchants in the United States today.

The company has joint marketing initiatives in place with Ameritech, Bell Atlantic Mobile and GTE.


Vital AMS Team

Vital Processing Services said yesterday it is forming a strategic marketing alliance with AMS, L.L.C.  AMS is a value-added POS equipment reseller and service provider. The alliance will allow Vital and AMS to co-market AMS’ ‘Just-In-Time POS’ equipment and supplies deployment services to acquirers nationwide.  In an effort to increase efficiencies for Vital and AMS’ client base, the agreement includes the installation of a gateway between AMS and Vital to expedite equipment and supplies fulfillment and terminal download requests.


Smart Card 101

The Smart Card Forum, a multi-industry organization working to accelerate the widespread acceptance of smart card technology, announced yesterday that it will hold its latest course designed to introduce business leaders to the basics of smart card technology and business applications in conjunction with its 6th Annual Meeting next month at San Francisco.  The theme of this year’s event is: Accelerating the Marketplace: Competition, Collaboration and Consumer Confidence.

The Smart Card Forum Educational Institute is set for September 8th.  It is designed for newcomers to the smart card industry, who will come away from the course with the ability to:

* describe the basics of smart card technology

* explain the business case for smart cards

* understand current consumer and merchant demand and issues related to smart card applications

* describe characteristics of today’s marketplace that illustrate the importance of smart card use

* recognize and discuss issues surrounding security, fraud and privacy

Experts who are currently working in the industry will lead the course.

September 9th

This will be the first day of the annual meeting, on which the Forum will share top-line results of its comprehensive research study on consumer perceptions of smart cards and their use.  Also on tap, former VeriFone CEO Hatim Tyabji will deliver a keynote speech, offering his unique insight and analysis as a smart card industry insider.  Not to mention 30-year Hewlett Packard veteran Charles H. House, who will provide his award-winning perspective on technological innovation within a business environment.

September 10th (SmartNet ’98)

This one-day symposium on smart card use in the cyberworld aims to open new doors to the possibilities and considerations for smart card networks.  It will examine the adoption of smart cards over the Internet and offer case studies representing varying industry perspectives.

    WHERE:       Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco
    WHEN:        September 9-10th 1998
    MEDIA INFO:  Megan McDonnell: 203-325-8772, No. 14;

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.


Smart Card Interoperability

The Global Chipcard Alliance announced Thursday its ‘Netuser Identifier Module’ project, a collaborative effort by the GCA member organizations to design a single application that will enable smart card terminals worldwide to identify and grant access to foreign application providers. Essentially, the NIM will enable a consumer’s smart card data to be identified at local terminals worldwide.  When a local terminal does not initially recognize a smart card from a different provider, it will ask for the NIM application. After querying the NIM, the network will contact the home application provider, which will then link the smart card’s application information back to the user.   As a result, interoperability can be realized for multiple applications, including those that may not be present in the terminal itself. Using the international telephony network as a model, the GCA will shape interoperability agreements by creating a worldwide network for smart card data transport or a smart card dialtone that allows universal access throughout the network.


Paymentech Certifies SoftPay

VeriFone, Inc., the leading global provider of secure electronic payment solutions Wednesday announced that Paymentech, Inc. has certified VeriFone’s SoftPay credit, debit and check authorization software for use in retail and restaurant environments.

The SoftPay software allows Paymentech to quickly and cost-effectively develop custom payment applications for merchants using VeriFone’s OMNI terminals, including the OMNIPak and OMNI 470 solutions.

![][1]     The SoftPay software, together with the OMNIPak and OMNI 470 terminals, offers unique features that save merchants’ time, money and counterspace. The OMNIPak II is a bundled, modular solution that combines the OMNI 396, PrintPak 350 — the industry’s fastest thermal printer — and the SoftPay software application into a compact unit to create an integrated point-of-sale solution. For restaurant and retail customers who want to offer debit transactions as a payment option, Paymentech has selected VeriFone’s OMNI 470, the industry’s only integrated solution that combines a PINpad, terminal and printer in one comprehensive unit.

“We are pleased to add VeriFone’s OMNIPak and SoftPay solutions to Paymentech’s product line,” said Laura Rogers, group manager of product management at Paymentech. “VeriFone’s OMNIPak product with its open system architecture allows us to easily make future enhancements to effectively meet the changing needs of our industry.”

“Paymentech, a leading processor in the industry, sets the standard for application certification and can now offer SoftPay software to its bank and ISO customers,” said Greg Rhine, vice president, North American Financial Retail Systems and Software Organization for VeriFone. “SoftPay software offers a modular approach to payment application development, letting our customers provide the payment options such as debit and credit cards today, and giving them the flexibility to offer smart cards or other payment choices in the future.”

Paymentech, Inc., founded in 1985, provides full-service electronic payment solutions for direct merchant clients as well as third-party transaction processing. Paymentech also offers complete commercial card payment and information programs to businesses and other entities. Paymentech is the third largest processor of bankcard transactions and a leading issuer of commercial cards in the United States.

VeriFone, Inc. ([][2]), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Company and the leading global provider of secure electronic payment solutions for financial institutions, merchants and consumers. VeriFone has shipped more than six million payment systems used in over 100 countries.

[1]: /graphic/paymentech/paymentech.gif


UTG to Target Swiss Cardholders

UTG Communications International Inc. announced Wednesday that its Swiss subsidiary, Starfon Telecom Services AG is developing a credit card based phone card and has reached an agreement with a major Swiss credit card operator.

Upon completion of the project, Starfon could provide various telecommunication services to up to 1.5 million credit card holders in Switzerland at a substantial discount to prevailing long distance and to international rates.  At a later stage, the Company intends to add value-added products such as voice mail, fax mail, speed dial, conference call calling, special and news services.

Starfon expects to be able to provide services to a limited number of credit card holders during the second half of this year.  Starfon plans to outsource the marketing of these telecom services to an independent specialised agency.  Upon completion of the development stage of this project, the Company intends to communicate detailed information in a press conference.

In order to perform these credit card based telecommunications services, Starfon is investing approximately CHF 1 million in new equipment, including new switches, in Switzerland.

UTG Communications International Inc. (UTGC) is a European switched based reseller, offering national and international long distance service to businesses and residential customers as well as selling wholesale to other carriers.


Chinese Smart Cards

Schlumberger has been selected by the People’s Bank of China to provide training and equipment to establish the ‘Certification Center’ for China’s new smart payment card project. This nationwide program will provide debit and electronic purse payment services. The ‘Center’, which will open later this month, will be responsible for testing the cards and terminals supplied by participants in the program. In addition to Schlumberger, Gemplus, Bull and Giesecke & Devrient, VISA and several Chinese suppliers are already involved in the program, and the release of prototype cards and terminals is underway. Schlumberger said Wednesday it hopes to be the first supplier to offer commercial cards and terminals for testing, following the recent release of its ‘Qianflex’ product range.


Marriott Contract

Chase Merchant Services, a joint venture between Chase Manhattan and First Data Merchant Services announced Wednesday an agreement to process VISA and MasterCard sales for Marriott International. Under the multi-year agreement, Chase Merchant Services will provide transaction authorization and processing services, settlement and funding services for Marriott International’s hotel brands throughout the United States. Marriott International has more than 1,700 operating units in the U.S..


Student Advantage Card

AT&T and Student Advantage rolled-out a new product yesterday that integrates the benefits and value of the ‘CALL ATT Calling Card’ and the ‘Student Advantage Membership Card’. The new ‘AT&T Student Advantage Card’ offers discounts of 10%-50% from more than 20,000 business locations across the country, AT&T’s ‘One Rate College Plan’, a rate of 20 cents per minute on qualifying calling card calls in the U.S., and access to special discounts on the ‘Student Advantage Network’. Last year AT&T offered its college student customers free, annual membership in the ‘Student Advantage Savings Program’. The ‘AT&T Student Advantage Card’ is being introduced through a host of on- and off-campus programs at more than 400 schools nationwide.