New Fingerprint Patents

Advanced Precision Technology Inc., a San Francisco based developer of innovative personal authentication systems using biometrics, today announced that it has received notice of allowance on an additional patent application covering their innovative holographic fingerprint capture optics. Advanced Precision received Notice of Allowance on June 19, 1998, from the US Patent Office, on a continuation-in-part patent application, Miniature Fingerprint Sensor using a Trapezoidal Prism and a Holographic Optical Element, filed August 8, 1996. APT was previously issued a U.S. Patent on May 13, 1997 for Prism Fingerprint Sensor Using a Holographic Optical Element, filed July 7, 1995.

“These patents reflect our commitment to continue to put the science into the art of fingerprint imaging and help make real-time fingerprint identification a cost-effective, reliable, and acceptable way for you to protect and verify your identity,” stated Bruce A. Pastorius, President/CEO of Advanced Precision.

Advanced Precision has already incorporated this technology in their previously announced APrinT HoloPass which already has multiple installations in the government and commercial sectors. The company is planning volume production of the HoloPass to support the anticipated demand from system integrators, channel partners, and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s).

APT is planning to release multiple packaging options ranging from a small integratable unit, to larger desktop or wall mount versions with built in smart card readers as an option. The company has been demonstrating the successful implementation of using fingerprints as unique “PIN” codes to protect smart cards at major trade conferences. The new HoloPass family of devices are targeted for September 1998.

“The addition of the smart cards stored value and information capabilities along with our HoloPass offerings will allow Advanced Precision to offer cost-effective, forensic quality fingerprint identity verification solutions to meet the many needs of the personal identification, banking/financial services, security, and access control marketplaces,” concluded Pastorius.

For more information, contact Advanced Precision Technology, Inc., Bruce A. Pastorius, President/CEO, via telephone at 415/397-1545, fax at 415/397-1546 or visit their web site at [>][1].



Interac Debit Card Tips

Cardholders whose cards have been compromised under circumstances beyond their control are at no financial risk. The compromised cards will be canceled and new cards issued and any fraudulent transactions will be reversed and the money refunded to the customers’ accounts.

Card issuing members adhere to the Canadian Code of Practice, which protects consumers in their use of debit card services in Canada.

Fraud detection and monitoring

In the event of suspected debit card compromises, the financial institutions’ fraud detection teams — working with Interac Association — compile a detailed analysis of the fraudulent use of cards and where it occurred. With this information, they are able to identify the source of the criminal activity and provide the police with the evidence they need to make an arrest. Both Interac members and staff work closely with policing agencies to ensure that any criminal activity is immediately stopped.

Keep your eye on your card

Contrary to reports about double swiping leading to fraud, cardholders should be aware that it is sometimes necessary for a card to be swiped through both the cash register and a debit terminal. However, when making a purchase with Interac Direct Payment, a debit card should remain within the cardholder’s sight at all times.

Cardholders must notify their financial institution immediately if they have reason to believe the confidentiality of their card or account has been breached.

Debit cards are very secure

In light of recent media reports, it is important for debit users to know that incidents of fraud are very rare when compared with the volume of transactions. This is because it requires both a card and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to gain access to a banking account. This makes debit the most secure payment method available today. Debit card fraud cannot occur without both a card and a cardholder’s PIN–which is a cardholder’s electronic signature and the key to his or her account.

You can protect your PIN

It is important that cardholders take their responsibility for PIN confidentiality very seriously and not reveal it even to close friends and family members. Most card compromises have been the result of a cardholder telling someone their PIN. For this reason, you must keep your PIN secret.

Interac Association advises cardholders to exercise care at all times and use their hands or bodies to shield others from observing them entering their PINs. If the PIN number remains confidential and these steps are taken, there is no reason to expect that fraud can occur. It is also recommended that cardholders change their PINs from time to time.

Interac services have an excellent security record thanks to the safeguard of a PIN.

With any type of financial transaction, security is important. The attached safety tips will help cardholders protect themselves against debit card fraud.

Interac Direct Payment (IDP) Safety Tips

1.  Keep your card in a safe place and never `lend’ it to anyone.

2.  Protect your PIN; it is your electronic signature. Don’t write it down–memorize it.

3.  Never disclose your PIN to anyone.

4.  Change your PIN regularly

5.  If you are selecting a PIN, always avoid the obvious–e.g. address, phone number, birth date.

6.  Use your hand or body as a shield to prevent others from seeing you enter your PIN–don’t worry about appearing too cautious.

7.  Make sure your debit card is always within sight during a transaction

8.  Conduct IDP transactions only where you feel secure–if you don’t feel comfortable, don’t use it.

9.  After a transaction, remember to take your card and your transaction slip.

10. If your card is lost or stolen, notify your financial institution immediately.

For further information: Andrew Cogan, Hill & Knowlton, (416) 413-1218


SCA Enters Retail Mail Order

In its initial move into the retail catalog/mail order industry,  Shoppers Charge Accounts Co. announced Monday it has acquired Lew Magram Ltd.’s private label credit card program.  SCA will also be starting up a separate card for Magram affiliate Brownstone Studio. Brownstone Studio, whose catalogs feature upscale women’s fashions, will be launched during July. Under terms of the agreement, the NJ-based SCA acquired the receivables in Magram’s portfolio and will administer all facets of the women’s apparel cataloger’s private label card program on an ongoing basis. The receivables were purchased from Bank One.  Magram, which launched its private label credit card in 1992, publishes over 50 million catalogs annually.


Gasper & Triton

Gasper and Triton Systems announced Monday they will jointly offer products that enable large ATM deployers to fully integrate the service and support of Triton dial-up ATMs in their networks.  For its role in the partnership, Triton is providing Gasper with an enhanced version of Triton Connect, an advanced software package for dial-up ATM management that provides complete remote data retrieval and monitoring of the Triton Series ‘miniATM Cash Dispenser’.  Gasper, in turn, will integrate the ‘Triton Connect’ package with its ‘Gasper Manager’, an automated ATM service management system for mission critical retail delivery environments. Gasper will market the combined solution to shared customers. Over 50% of the ATMs in the U.S. and 20% of worldwide ATMs are monitored by Gasper systems.


Discovery Card

The Discovery Channel will unveil a MasterCard Wednesday to protect endangered species and the environment as well as offer cardholders special savings on merchandise. The ‘Discovery Channel Platinum Plus MasterCard’ and ‘Discovery Channel Preferred MasterCard’ offers coupons for savings at The Nature Company and Discovery Channel Stores and on merchandise from Discovery Channel catalogs. In addition, Discovery Channel will contribute a percentage of revenue from the cards to The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International. Cardholders will also receive a quarterly newsletter with news on Discovery Channel products and services, Discovery Networks programming highlights, and behind-the-scenes features. MBNA America, the bank-issuing partner, is offering a 5.9% intro rate for purchases, cash advances and balance transfers. Starting tomorrow, customers may apply at Discovery Channel and The Nature Company stores or online through the shopping page at Discovery Channel Online.


Next Card Boost

The provider of the ‘First True Internet VISA’, the NextCard, announced this morning it has successfully completed a $14 million round of financing through its parent, Internet Access Financial Corporation . The San Francisco-based firm says it will use the proceeds to expand its customer base and add a thrift charter to support its direct banking business model. The company currently markets through a strategic relationship with Heritage Bank of Commerce in San Jose, CA. Since its introduction early this year, more than 100,000 consumers have applied for the ‘NextCard Internet VISA’. NextCard’s Internet-focused business model includes an online credit approval process, the ability to let customers interact in real time to design their own card, online statements, online customer service, and introductory rates as low as 2.9%. NextCard joined CardWeb’s (or RAM Research’s) consumer Web advertising program in March and achieved such a successful hit rate it promptly expanded its long term advertising agreement to include a second CardWeb advertising slot.


Free VFW Phone Cards

Operation Uplink, the VFW program that provides free pre-paid phone cards to active duty troops and hospitalized veterans, announced plans this weekend for a major effort to provide Operation Uplink cards in the Washington D.C. area over Independence Day weekend.

According to organizers, the program will be hosting distributions at six Washington area military bases with at least one additional event specifically for hospitalized veterans. Together, the effort is expected to provide some 25,000 phone cards to area troops and hospitalized veterans during just that weekend alone. Some 15,000 of the phone cards planned for distribution are gifts from IDT Corporation, a telecommunications company based in Hackensack, NJ.

“There is no more appropriate time to honor those individuals who serve — or have served — in our Armed Forces than Independence Day,” said John E. Moon, VFW Commander-in-Chief. “After all, these are the people who have protected our very way of life, and I can think of nothing they would like better than to contact those most important to them on this patriotic day.”

Operation Uplink was developed to help ease the hardship of the more than 2,000,000 hospitalized veterans and active duty military personnel who face the day-to-day struggles of being far away from home.  Even worse, the cost of long distance phone calls can create a severe strain on military families or veterans whose finances are already depleted.

The events are organized and hosted by VFW Posts and Departments and made possible through the generous donations of time and financial contributions of VFW members and supporters.

Started almost two years ago, Operation Uplink has already distributed nearly 70,000 pre-paid phone cards to hospitalized veterans and active duty military personnel around the world.

Since its inception, the program has received tremendous recognition. In fact, over the 1997 holidays, President Clinton distributed 400 Operation Uplink cards to young Americans serving on peacekeeping forces.

This past year, Operation Uplink was also recognized from the Senate floor. Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV, Committee on Veterans Affairs) noted, “We all realize that a phone is more than a modern convenience; it is a lifeline to the outside world for a sick veteran … this project is a tribute to the many veterans who believed in the principles of freedom and democracy strongly enough to risk their lives in the name of freedom.”

The VFW, founded in 1899, is America’s oldest major veterans organization. More than 2 million members served overseas during World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Lebanon, the Persian Gulf War, Bosnia, Somalia and Haiti, as well as in many smaller occupation and expeditionary actions.

To learn more about Operation Uplink, write to: Operation Uplink, VFW National Headquarters, 406 W. 34th Street, Suite 219, Kansas City, MO 64111, call 1-800-479-5228 or visit VFW’s website at .


SSL Breach

Following last week’s discovery of potential vulnerability in secure web communications, RSA Data Security announced Friday it is working with a group of leading Internet software vendors on pre-emptive countermeasures to thwart the newly-discovered potential attack against secure Web communications. The countermeasures will enhance the security of several software products based on the SSL protocol.  Several firms, including C2Net Software, announed the availability of a patch to enable customers to defend against the new potential attack. These countermeasures address a potential vulnerability discovered by the Secure Systems Research Department of Bell Labs, the research and development arm of Lucent Technologies. Bell Labs identified a cryptanalytic vulnerability that could potentially be used to discover the key for a particular encrypted session through a process of repeatedly sending on the order of one million carefully constructed messages to a target server and observing the server’s response.


Intl Sub-Prime

AIC Worldwide announced Friday it is holding the first comprehensive, multi-industry event in the U.K. that focuses specifically on sub-prime lending. AIC says the red hot, sub-prime lending industry is quickly entering the international arena and now is the prime time to test the sub-prime waters of the U.K.. The conference producer says the U.K. is just beginning to lend to credit-challenged borrowers and has a huge untapped, potentially lucrative, customer base. The ‘Consumer Lending ’98’ conference will be held Oct 26-28 at The Parklane Hotel in London. For reservations call 212-714-1444. CardFlash is among the sponsoring publications for the international event.


Macy’s Gets Serious

Federated Department Stores announced this morning it is establishing Macys.Com as a separate, free-standing subsidiary of the corporation. Federated becomes the nation’s first traditional department store retailer to create a separate subsidiary dedicated to capitalizing on Internet commerce opportunities. Macys.Com was launched by Macy’s West in early 1996 as an informational site, and began experimenting with online selling later that year. The company said Friday that the new Macys.Com site, expected to be launched in October, will focus on creating a true cyber-shopping experience for the customer, with more than 250,000 SKUs immediately available for purchase in a cyber environment that mirrors the department store in merchandise presentations and product offerings. Additionally, Macys.Com will offer its online customers the ability to make merchandise exchanges or returns at any of Macy’s 188 department stores nationwide. Among partners of the upgraded web site will be IBM and Left Field LLC, a San Francisco-based advertising and Internet marketing firm.


NB’s Military Platform

Security First Technologies (S1), a wholly owned subsidiary of Security First Network Bank announced Friday that NationsBank Military Banking has signed a letter of intent to use S1’s Internet-based technology platform to offer financial services worldwide to U.S. military personnel.

In addition, NationsBank Military Banking’s Internet transactions will be processed by the S1 Data Center located in Atlanta, Georgia.

NationsBank Military Banking plans to use two applications from Virtual Financial Manager, S1’s suite of financial services software. Because the service is Internet-based, NationsBank Military Banking’s customers can review their bank accounts from any personal computer or other Internet-capable device.

Virtual Bank Manager will enable military personnel around the world 24-hour access to their bank accounts to pay bills online, open new accounts or view current ones, transfer funds between accounts and review 24 months of stored financial data.

Virtual Credit Card Manager will provide customers a view of their credit card statements online and the ability to pay their bill from their regular or money market account.

“It was extremely important to NationsBank Military Banking to adopt a technology that allows us to offer virtually all of our services to military personnel anywhere around the world,” said Jerry Reavis, NationsBank Military Banking president.  “S1 technology provides us effective web-banking solutions and enhances our overall level of services by adding Internet capabilities. Our customers now are able to bank with us by mail, telephone, visiting a banking center or ATM and soon with any Internet-connected PC.”

“The S1 technology platform will give NationsBank Military Banking customers enhanced personal account access and an opportunity to take advantage of new services over the Internet,” said James S. Mahan, III, chief executive officer of Security First Technologies.  “Virtual Financial Manager is a perfect solution for institutions serving customers around the world.”

More than three dozen financial institutions now offer Internet services using S1’s software applications.  Some have licensed the software for in-house use, others process through the S1 Data Center, or have access to S1’s applications through their relationships with third party data processors.

NationsBank Military Banking, headquartered at the Fort Sam Houston banking center in San Antonio, began providing banking services to military personnel and their families in 1920.  Today, the unit serves more than 85,000 customers worldwide, offering specialized products and services tailored for active duty or retired military personnel.

NationsBank Corporation, with $315 billion in total assets, is the third largest U.S. bank with full-service operations in 16 states and the District of Columbia.  NationsBank provides financial products and services to more than 18 million households and one million businesses as well as institutional investors and government agencies in 46 states and in major markets around the world.  The company’s shares (NB) are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Security First Technologies (S1) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the world’s first Internet bank, Security First Network Bank. Security First Technologies develops integrated, brandable Internet applications that enable financial institutions to offer products, services and transactions over the Internet in a secure environment.  S1 also offers strategic marketing support, training, product integration, and customer and data service center outsourcing.  Security First Technologies, through direct sales and channel partnerships, has agreed to provide software applications and technology to 81 financial entities, including 14 of the top 100 U.S. financial institutions.


Electron in Asia

VISA International said this weekend it is seeking to tap into 15% of Indonesia’s 60 million banking depositors with its ‘Electron’ debit card. VISA ‘Electron’ will be offered through six commercial banks: Bank Bali, Bank Duta, Bank Lippo, Bank Mashill, BNI and Bank PosVisa. The Jakarta Post reported this weekend that Indonesia and Thailand are the first two countries on VISA’s Electron marketing scope in Asia-Pacific, with Japan and India to follow shortly. VISA reportedly projected it will issue about 25 million Electron cards in Asia-Pacific in the next twelve months.