Checkmate Signs Eagle

Checkmate Electronics, Inc. announced the roll out of a new point-of-sale solution for the rapidly expanding Renton, Washington-based Eagle Hardware & Garden chain of Home Improvement Stores. The system will be fully implemented by the end of 1997.

Combining both check reading and electronic signature capture with credit card processing at check-out platform, the new POS system will act as a strong deterrent against check and credit card fraud.

Mr. Ron Maccarone, Executive Vice president – Finance and Chief Financial Officer, says: “Using Checkmate’s systems we are implementing a process which provides a faster, more convenient check-out experience for our customers. It also provides the ability to identify check fraud at the point of entry to the system. By capturing data electronically and storing it on our corporate host, we can retrieve transaction details within minutes. Based on the projected reduction in check fraud and credit card charge backs, the system will rapidly pay for itself.”

Gregory A. Lewis, Checkmate’s president and chief operating officer, says: “We are pleased to add Eagle Hardware & Garden to our growing list of merchants whose focus on customer service with fraud prevention uses the full functionality of Checkmate’s technologies. Many more of our customers are combining check and electronic signature with card processing at the point-of-transaction. These merchants will be able to improve cashier productivity, reduce fraud, and be ready to switch to new electronic processing methods like check truncation without any disruption to their normal business activities.

Eagle Hardware & Garden use electronic signature and capture software provided by North Carolina-based, Smokey Mountain Technologies, Inc. All signatures are captured electronically on Checkmate’s CM 2020 signature capture pads and are then stored on the corporate host for retrieval at any time.

Eagle Hardware & Garden operates 30 warehouse home improvement centers in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The Company’s home centers average 125,000 square feet of retail selling space and feature 65,000 products under its “More of Everything”(R) merchandising philosophy.

Checkmate Electronics, Inc., supplies innovative electronic payment solutions for distributors, retailers, and financial service institutions. Checkmate’s products include point-of-sale software and terminals, comprising check readers, MICR analyzers, payment authorization and point-of-transaction promotion/loyalty systems, signature capture devices and electronic transaction processing equipment, all packaged in integrated and cost justified solutions.

As a full service provider, Checkmate also offers professional services including application development, consulting, project management, installation services and TotalCARE support and maintenance. Headquartered in Roswell, Ga., Checkmate Electronics, Inc. has over 185 employees. Visit the Checkmate web site at .

This press release contains forward-looking statements subject to the safe harbor created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Management cautions that these statements represent projections and estimates of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties. The Company’s actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors including, without limitation, the Company’s heavy reliance on check readers in its product mix; the Company’s dependence on its limited suppliers and manufacturers of component parts of its products; rapid and significant technological developments that could delay the introduction of improvements in existing products or of new products; the Company’s dependence on its proprietary technologies (which may be independently developed by competitors); the Company’s dependence on a small number of large retail customers; the potential fluctuation in financial results as a result of the Company’s inability to make sales to large customers as well as the volume and timing of bookings received during a quarter and variations in sales mix; competition from existing companies as well as new market entrants; and, the Company’s dependence on key personnel.


Fraud Technology

U.S. consumer fraud hit $152 billion last year with the insurance segment (health, property & casualty and workers comp) accounting for nearly 80% of the total. Overall consumer fraud thus represents about $1600 per U.S. household. According to a new report released this morning by MA-based Meridien Research, the insurance industry accounts for only 18% of the worldwide expenditures on fraud detection technologies while experiencing 50% of the world’s fraud losses. By comparison the credit card industry accounted for 33% of global fraud technology expenditures while experiencing only 1% of global fraud losses. Last year VISA and MasterCard losses topped $750 million. This year overall U.S. credit card losses among all general purpose and private label brands will exceed $1 billion. The Meridien report entitled ‘Fraud Detection Technologies’ provides an comprehensive look at available fraud fighting solutions.


Huntington on CompuServe

CompuServe Corp. and The Huntington National Bank have joined forces to bring new online banking services to CSi members. Beginning today, the Ohio-based company’s web bank, known as, will be directly available to more than 1.4 million CompuServe members in the United States.

CSi members will benefit from the convenience-oriented products and services offers for managing personal and business finances online. The site is divided into three sections. The first, Huntington Web Bank, describes personal and commercial products and allows customers to utilize planning tools and apply for Internet Banking. A second section, Corporate Information, features press and general information about the publicly held bank holding company. Rounding out the site, and providing the most functionality, is the expanded and improved Transaction Center. The center provides consumers with transactional capabilities, such as online bill paying and account reconciliation and reporting, in a secure environment.

“CSi’s core membership seeks access to high-utility products and services to accomplish important business and personal tasks, quickly and easily,” said Scott Gerber, senior manager for CompuServe. “The Huntington Web Bank extends choice and flexibility for members’ banking needs.”

“We’re proud to invite CSi members to experience banking at,” said William Randle, executive vice president and manager of Direct Access Financial Services for The Huntington. “CSi’s membership demographics closely mirror our target customer base, giving us access to a wonderful audience of prospective online banking clients.”

CSi members can access through the Personal Finance community or by using the GO:HNB command.

Founded in 1969, CompuServe Incorporated provides the world’s most comprehensive online/Internet access through its two brands, CSi and SPRYNET. Through CompuServe, its Japanese licensee NIFTY- Serve and its affiliates around the world, more than 5 million home and business users in more than 185 countries are connected online and to the Internet. CompuServe Network Services, a leading network integrator, provides more than 1,200 companies around the world with complete, fully integrated, Internet, Intranet, and Extranet connectivity solutions. With world headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, the CompuServe organization includes offices in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The Huntington National Bank is the principal subsidiary of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated. With over 131 years of serving the financial needs of its customers, Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (Nasdaq: HBAN) is a regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, with assets in excess of $25 billion. The Huntington provides innovative products and services through its 527 offices in Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The Huntington also offers products and services through its technologically advanced, 24-hour telephone bank, a 1,100-unit ATM network and its Web Bank at . Publicly traded as Nasdaq: HBAN, the stock is included in the S&P 500 Index.


Wireless Data Acquisition

Wireless Data Solutions Inc. Tuesday announced that the company has signed a letter of intent and has entered into negotiations to acquire B Squared Software Inc. of Huntington Beach, Calif.

B Squared Software Inc. designs, implements and maintains information systems for industrial automation and test and measurement markets. B Squared’s information systems create “virtual instruments” capable of conducting data collection, data distribution or process control effectively reducing operating costs and improve product quality.

Mike McLaughlin, Wireless Data’s president and CEO, commented: “We are very excited about the potential of B Squared Software Inc. They have an excellent management team, outstanding technical expertise and although a relatively young company, they are already profitable with projections of over $4 million for fiscal year 1998. Some of their clients include impressive names such as Warner Bros., Texaco, RCA, AirTouch Cellular, Beckman Instruments and Rockwell International. After our meetings this past week we feel that the hardware capabilities of Wireless Data Solutions, and the software capabilities of B Squared combined, could potentially double our current revenue projections beginning fiscal 1998 and beyond.”

Wireless Data Solutions Inc. designs and markets digital communications equipment and software systems for vehicle fleet management through its wholly owned subsidiary Dinet. Its hardware products are known as mobile data terminals called Data Mates; these units send and receive real-time information to and from a base station. Options include Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) using GPS technology with the company’s mapping software, Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD), onsite Credit Card readers and others.

Visit their web site @ [][1].

Statements in this press release about the company’s negotiations are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Sections 27A and 21E of the Securities Act of 1933 and 1934. The company intends that such “forward-looking statements” be subject to the safe harbors created thereby. Since these statements involve risks and uncertainties, such as the outcome of negotiations and revenue projections, the results could differ materially from those expected.



New DataCard Development Center

DataCard Corporation announced today that it has opened a software development center in Bangalore, India. The new center will be funded and operated as a joint venture with SaveSmart, a California-based Internet services company.

Glenn Highland, DataCard’s president and CEO, said the new center will allow both companies to introduce a steady flow of new products and achieve aggressive financial goals.

“We currently develop software in Minneapolis, Toronto, Tokyo and several cities in Europe. While those resources are considerable, worldwide demand for DataCard products would exceed our capacity before too long,” Highland said. “The new software development center in Bangalore will provide us with the additional horsepower we need to achieve our goals.”

DataCard and SaveSmart plan to start with a team of twelve software developers in the new center, then gradually grow the staff on a project-by-project basis to over 50 developers within three years.

“After exploring several locations around the world, we chose India because it offers a wealth of software development talent,” Highland said. “India also offers many geographic advantages. It allows us to be closer to customers in the Pacific Rim and China_two areas where we expect tremendous growth over the next several years.”

Jim Moar, executive vice president and chief operating officer for DataCard, said the opening of the Bangalore site reflects a change in the company’s business and its products.

“Just a few years ago, the world viewed us as the leading manufacturer of card personalization equipment,” Moar said. “Now, our customers look to us for intelligent, fully integrated card issuance solutions.”

“Financial institutions, government agencies, corporations, colleges, universities and hospitals use our solutions to intelligently and securely manage their business,” Moar added. “The software development expertise we’re adding in India will allow us to keep up with a growing worldwide demand for those solutions.”

Ashok Narasimhan, SaveSmart CEO and former CEO of India-based Infotek stated, “India has a high concentration of some of the world’s most talented software developers. We will do everything possible to attract this rich pool of talent to our start-up organization.”

Narasimhan added, “The new joint center will focus on both Internet point of purchase technologies, two areas universally expected to sustain significant growth for a very long time to come.”

DataCard Corporation, a privately held company based in Minneapolis, Minn., is a world leader in innovative plastic card solutions. The company offers a spectrum of card-related products and services, including digital photo ID systems, badging services, card personalization systems, systems integration services and transaction terminals. ([][1])



Granite Foundation OFX Capable

Destiny Software announced today that it has demonstrated OFX functionality in its flagship middleware product, Granite Foundation. OFX enables financial institutions to offer online functionality through remote banking software such as Home Financial Network’s (HFN) Internet ATM, Quicken ’98 and Microsoft Money ’98.

Destiny has successfully connected Granite Foundation to Internet ATM using OFX for the secure exchange of credit card information, such as transaction histories and detailed statement information. Destiny will demonstrate its OFX capability at BAI’s Retail Delivery ’97 Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 2-4.

Destiny’s Granite OFX Channel facilitates the connection between Destiny’s middleware and OFX-enabled remote banking software. “OFX gives financial institutions yet another powerful channel for offering their consumers online access,” commented Lucinda Duncalfe, President and CEO of Destiny Software. “Destiny’s goal is to give financial institutions total control over their online systems with channel independence. Our Granite OFX Channel is another big step down this path.”

Granite Foundation is a platform for creating financial services transaction systems for the Internet, America Online, OFX and voice response units. Financial institutions can deploy a completely customized solution with Granite Foundation in the same time it takes to implement a packaged, “off- the-shelf” solution.

Destiny Software was founded in 1994 to provide online transaction solutions for large financial institutions. Destiny enables financial institutions to solve complex business problems through the use of advanced object oriented technology. Destiny’s clients include Bank of America, First USA, GE Capital, Advanta and The Vanguard Group. The company’s web site is located at .


Holiday Phone Card Tips

Along with the arrival of the holiday season comes an increase in the number of scam artists whose rip-offs have ruined the holidays for many unsuspecting people.

To help consumers protect themselves against phone fraud and other deceptions that people are especially vulnerable to at this time of the year, AT&T has identified certain scams that are common during the holidays. These tips will help consumers protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud.

Consumer travel increases heavily during the holidays. Many people don’t realize that this is a prime time for thieves to steal calling card numbers from those making phone calls from a pay phone. When calling from a public phone at the airport, train station or bus terminal:

— Protect your calling card number by blocking the telephone keypad with your body as you dial the number.

— Whenever one is available, use a card reader phone that automatically reads the billing information on your calling card, so you don’t have to say the number aloud. If you must read your card number to an operator, speak softly or cup your hand around the mouthpiece.

— Find out if your calling card provider offers safeguards such as numbers that are easily memorized so that the card itself doesn’t have to be taken out to be used.

— AT&T Calling Card customers can restrict their card’s ability to dial international calls – the favorite use of stolen cards by calling-card thieves.

— Report a stolen calling card or suspicion of fraud to your long-distance company immediately. The company will cancel the calling-card number and issue a new card to you. AT&T Calling Card customers should call 1-800-CALL-ATT.

Scam artists are especially active this time of year. And, while the popular belief is that older people are the most frequent targets of scam artists, in actuality, people of all ages, income and education levels and lifestyles can be taken in. All consumers should be wary of a call from someone who:

— Guarantees a credit card with a high credit limit just in time for holiday shopping but wants an up-front payment.

— Claims to represent a charity you’re not familiar with.

— Says you need to buy something or pay a fee to win a prize.

— Asks for your credit card, calling card, bank account or social security number.

— Uses a company name that is intended to sound like a government agency or a well-known company.

— Pressures you to act on the offer the same day.

— Acts as if he or she has done business with you before.

— Is unwilling to send you written information on the offer or give you references.

— Claims you’ve won a prize and you haven’t entered a contest.

The best defense against all kinds of fraud is an educated consumer. If people understand how scams work they’re less likely to become a victim.

To report a fraudulent or suspicious telemarketing call consumers can contact the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060.


First Union – Corestates

First Union will become the nation’s 14th largest bank credit card issuer with its acquisition of Corestates Financial. Late yesterday First Union agreed to buy Corestates for $16.1 billion in stock, to become the largest banking deal in U.S. history. Coupled with its acquisition of Signet, which is expected to close by the end of November, First Union will add $1.9 billion in credit card receivables to its current portfolio of $6.2 billion. First Union will move from 16th place to 14th place, passing Providian and Wells Fargo, according to Bankcard Barometer. At the end of the third quarter First Union held $6,200,680,373 in receivables, $4,305,310,518 in year-to-date volume, 3,999,537 gross accounts, 2,175,726 active accounts and 5,599,352 cards-in-force according to Bankcard Update.


SETCo Formed

VISA, MasterCard, American Express and JCB agreed Tuesday in principle to form an entity to manage the SET specifications, handle software compliance testing and address other issues pertaining to the adoption of SET as a global payment standard. Tentatively named ‘SETCo’, the entity will initially focus on the creation, management and maintenance of an Industry Root Key Certificate Authority and the awarding of ‘SET-compliant’ marks to software fully compliant with the SET 1.0 protocol.


Signature Improves MW Margins

The Signature Group’s third quarter revenues of $214 million was a significant factor in raising Montgomery Ward’s gross margin rate by six points. MW also indicated that while reduced credit card mailers and letters impacted revenues somewhat its direct response marketing unit realized a 12% third quarter revenue boost to offset the impact. MW is currently in a workout following its decision to seek bankruptcy protection.



American Express Corporate cardholders will now receive more detailed purchasing information following yesterday’s decision to implement a program to capture Level III transactions. Global Payment Systems’ ‘Purchasing PC Level III’ will enable suppliers to gather information on sales tax, supplier and cardholder reference numbers, or specific order information for American Express transactions and send the information, via the GPS network, back to AmEx corporate cardholders. Detailed information may also include weights, colors, sizes, model numbers, item descriptions and unit quantities.