Bankruptcy Slowdown

VISA projected yesterday the annual growth in personal bankruptcy filings will continue its current decline through next year. Last year personal bankruptcies soared 26.6%, topping one million for the first time. VISA said yesterday at its annual bankruptcy conference in San Diego that filings for this year will grow 18.6% and should grow 14.9% for 1998. Through Aug 31, actual filings totaled 891,189 compared to 730,827 for the same period last year. VISA’s ‘Bankruptcy Notification Service’ projects 1,325,042 total 1997 filings and 1,521,986 filings for 1998. VISA and other consumer lenders are calling for a tightening in bankruptcy laws.

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QuestPoint’s Back Office Solutions

QuestPoint today announced a new focus on serving many of the back-office processing needs of the credit card bank segment. The announcement was made at the ABA Bank Card Conference. The new focus combines the long-standing expertise of QuestPoint’s three specialty units Check, Document and Remittance Services to provide comprehensive and connected “back office” solutions.

QuestPoint will provide the credit card bank segment with application, remittance and cash letter processing from a single source. The unique combination of these back-office processing competencies provides several additional benefits not available from single function providers.

“Clients who use one or more of our specialty services will greatly benefit from this market segment focus,” said Larry Anastasi, of QuestPoint’s Document Services Unit. “For example, an image of address change information from a payment coupon can be simultaneously captured during processing by our Remittance Services Unit. The image then can be electronically transmitted to our Document Services Unit where address changes can be made and sent to our clients virtually simultaneously with their payment information. Another example is issuers who use QuestPoint’s Remittance Services Unit can clear these payments through our Check Services Unit.”

“Many credit card issuers would like to outsource their back-office functions so they can focus on their core competencies,” said Joseph M. Loughry, QuestPoint chairman and CEO. “QuestPoint’s core competency is automated processing. The businesses consolidated under the QuestPoint brand create synergies that add value for our clients. We like to think our solutions relieve the ache in our customer’s back office.”

QuestPoint’s Document Services Unit provides customized data entry and data capture products to organizations with high volume needs, particularly in the credit card and health care industries.

“The roots of our data entry competency go back to 1969,” said Anastasi. “One of the reasons for our continued success is that we don’t sell a basket of keystrokes. We take the time to look at each client’s specific business needs to determine the best overall solution that can be applied.”

The American Bankers Association’s Bank Card Conference is the largest annual trade show for bank card professionals.

QuestPoint is a specialty transaction and information processing company providing remittance, check and document services to more than 400 financial institutions and nearly 5,000 corporations, handling 4.5 billion paper items annually from 27 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Through its specialty processing units Remittance Services, Check Services and Document Services it offers uniquely focused and technology-enabled solutions to meet the paper processing and electronic migration needs of the financial institution market as well as the direct payment processing needs of large retail billers.

QuestPoint, a subsidiary of CoreStates Financial Corp (NYSE: CFL), combines the service specialties of the former CashFlex, Transys, Nationwide Remittance Centers, CGW Data, and Alpha Beta Data under one management and one brand name.

CoreStates Financial Corp is a Philadelphia-based banking company with assets of $46.8 billion. The company markets broadly diversified financial products and services in the middle Atlantic region and selected products and services worldwide. CoreStates has been a leader in image technology since 1978, and is a top 10 provider of cash management transactional processes and services as well as CHIPS, EDI, information reporting and funds transfer services.

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BA Merchant Names Board Chair

The board of directors of BA Merchant Services Inc. announced the appointment of James G. Jones as chairman of the board.

A subsidiary of Bank of America NT&SA, BA Merchant Services Inc. was incorporated in October 1996 and provides an array of electronic payment processing and related products and services to merchants who accept credit, charge, and debit cards as payment for goods and services throughout the United States and certain Asian countries.

Jones is group executive vice president and head of consumer loan products at Bank of America and has served as a member of the BA Merchant Services board of directors since November 1996. As head of consumer loan products, Jones is responsible for Bank of America’s credit card, commercial card, merchant card services, residential mortgage, manufactured housing, consumer lending and auto dealer businesses.

Jones is a member of Bank of America’s Senior Management Council and has served on advisory boards with Visa, MasterCard, Fannie Mae, and the Credit Research Council at Purdue. He earned an MBA from the University of Kansas, an MA in organizational psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a BA in psychology from Washburn University in Topeka.

Jones succeeds Thomas E. Peterson, who had served as chairman of the board of directors of BA Merchant Services Inc. from the company’s formation in 1996. He retired this past May from Bank of America, where he had served as president of the Global Retail Bank.

Prior to that, he was vice chairman, responsible for Bank of America’s retail business activities worldwide, including both traditional and alternative retail delivery systems and products and services.

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New Contact/Contactless Smart Card

Racom Systems, Inc., a pioneer in the development of contactless smart card technology announced today the availability of the first of a new generation of affordable smart card systems that offer secure transactions in both contact and contactless operation.

The RX-1500 series of cards and controllers is the first smart card system that offers a level of security and flexibility in contactless operation that previously could only be achieved in contact operation. The RX-1500 series is the first of a new family of smart cards to be offered by Racom which were specifically developed to meet the needs of multi-application environments that require contact and contactless operation such as transit, parking, loyalty, access control, and electronic purse. Other members of the RX family will include disposable cards as well as cards and systems that support down-loadable applets with more powerful processors and larger amounts of memory for banking, biometrics and other complex applications.

The RX-1500 series of smart card systems include the RXC-1500 smart card, the RXR-1500 contactless reader and support and development tools to aid in developing contact and contactless applications.

Unlike conventional contact or contactless only smart cards, the RXC-1500 smart card offers, at an affordable price, the same high level of security and file access in both contactless operation and when used with an ISO-7816 standard contact reader. Racom’s RXR-1500 contactless reader is available in a number of configurations to support a variety of installation options.

The RXC-1500 smart card includes an 8-bit microcontroller, 2K bytes of FRAM non-volatile memory, 8k bytes of ROM, and a Racom developed Operating System. Tools include a formatter for use by the card issuer that provides for custom formatting of the card. The card issuer can create up to 16 password-protected purses or data files of any length. Four pass cryptographic mutual authentication and encryption of communication between the card and controller provide security against a variety of attacks.

For a contactless transaction, the card is powered remotely and communicates via a radio signal from the RXR-1500 contactless controller. The entire transaction including mutual authentication, encryption/ decryption of transmitted messages and purse or file update is accomplished in less than 100 milliseconds (1/10 of a second) resulting in true “walk and wave” operation.

“We are very excited about the prospects for these products since, in the transit area alone, there are literally thousands of properties that can take advantage of a multi-application solution. By easing the overall system integration problem and offering superior security, performance, and value, we believe the RX-1500 series will become the next industry standard in smart cards,” said Richard Horton, Racom President and CEO.

Racom Systems, Inc., headquartered in Denver, Colorado, develops and delivers smart card-based systems that automate transactions for electronic commerce, information technology and industrial automation. Whether at home, work or play, Racom’s systems put people in charge of their lives with solutions that 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.

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Schlumberger’s SmartWare & SafePak

Schlumberger Electronic Transactions today introduced new smart card products supporting the Microsoft® Smart Card Software Development Kit (SDK). The products, which include cards, readers PC software and developer’s kits, enable ISVs and VARs to implement smart-card-based applications for Windows® with the most advanced smart card technology available today. These products support industry-standard interfaces providing opportunities to leverage new applications across a large platform base. The new products introduced include: SmartWare(TM), a comprehensive smart card developers’ kit to build PC-based smart card applications using one of the Schlumberger’s industry-leading smart cards, such as Cryptoflex(TM), Cyberflex(TM), Multiflex and Payflex. SafePaK(TM), a client PC package for information security supporting Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, based on the Cryptoflex smart card and a family of different smart card readers to fit any need. “We are excited that Schlumberger is delivering smart card products for Microsoft Windows,” said Ed Muth, Group Product Manager for Security and Enterprise marketing at Microsoft. “This will enable our mutual customers to take advantage of smart cards to design and build unique new applications for a wide range of market segments.” “Smart cards are the most personal, portable computing device, and these are the attributes that make them so exciting for application developers around the world,” said Jacques Cosnefroy, vice president and general manager of Schlumberger Smart Cards division. “The products that we are introducing show the power of smart card technology to bring the best security and privacy to browsers and other PC applications with them, developers in all different markets can catch the next wave in computing.” SafePaK is an information security application product, supporting Internet Explorer 4.0® and Outlook Express®. With SafePaK, individuals and corporations can improve the security of their network communications and assure the integrity of data and messages. SafePaK comprises Cryptoflex, the industry’s leading cryptographic smart card with strong 1024-bit RSA security, one several optional smart card readers and PC software. SafePaK is being demonstrated during the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference. Cryptoflex cards are being issued to individuals, which they can use to download X.509 certificates, and then use them to demonstrate secure web site access and sending signed and encrypted e-mail, all with Internet Explorer 4.0 and Outlook Express. With SmartWare, an application developer can take advantage of standardized APIs working in the Windows 95 and Windows NT environments to build PC applications of all types. Smart cards are ideal for applications personalized to individuals, such as home banking, health care, insurance, and personal identification. The built-in hardware security of a smart card makes it the logical choice for secure, controlled access to sensitive databases, protecting the privacy of such information. Each of these products is built on the PC/SC Workgroup specifications, developed by the leaders in smart cards and PC hardware and software. The specifications provide a uniform API for smart card readers and smart cards themselves when used with personal computers. Schlumberger’s complete line of PC/SC compliant smart cards are designed to offer features and performance for virtually any application: Cryptoflex(TM), the only smart card supporting 1024-bit RSA functions; Cyberflex(TM), the Card for Java(TM), adhering to the Java Card API; Multiflex, a general purpose card ideally suited for ID applications; and Payflex, the most cost-effective choice for secure financial applications. A variety of PC/SC compliant smart card readers have also been announced including: Reflex 20 PCMCIA-slot reader for laptops; Reflex 60 serial port readers; Reflex 60 Chip Set for hardware integration into PCs and other devices; Pocket Dock(TM) serial port reader with secure keypad entry and display; and Floppy Dock(TM) smart card reader designed to use the floppy disk drive.

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KeyBank Moves E-Commerce to Senior Management

KeyBank signaled its focus on integrating Internet-based banking alternatives with its nationwide branch, call center and ATM network this week by naming its electronic commerce executive, Patrick J. Swanick, to its senior management team.

Swanick, 39, has been named vice chairman for KeyBank, the nationwide company formed last month when Key integrated its numerous state-chartered banking operations into a single operating unit. He previously was executive vice president for electronic commerce, responsible for Key’s telebanking, ATM, and PC-based banking functions.

“With the transition to a nationwide branch, call center and ATM network now complete, our focus for the next six months will be completing development and integrating several PC-based alternatives for our clients across our office network and technology infrastructure,” said Gary R. Allen, KeyBank chairman, president and CEO. “With his extensive background in electronic banking, marketing and sales, Pat is ideally equipped to complete that important link.”

Swanick will lead Key’s introduction of a suite of PC- and Internet-based banking options marketed as Key2Your$. Key has recently partnered with Intuit and Microsoft to launch new, on-line banking products in this area, and expects to add a unique Internet-based product for individuals and small businesses to its award-winning Website later this year.

Swanick, who joined Key in 1992, will also be responsible for overseeing KeyBank’s quality management programs and the units involving all distribution functions, including all KeyCenter (branch) support, electronic commerce, telemarketing and ATM systems. He will also have responsibility for Key’s in- store and ‘KeyExpress’ initiatives — which are developing and deploying new types of banking technology into grocery stores and other high-traffic, high volume locations throughout the U.S.

Prior to assuming responsibility for Electronic Commerce activities, Swanick guided the creation of a standardized, national operations platform for Key’s consumer loan, auto lease, credit card, ATM, and call center functions through various integration, consolidation and reengineering activities following the Key/Society merger in March, 1994.

A two-time graduate of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Swanick holds a B.S. degree in Marketing, with a Minor in Spanish, and an M.B.A. in Management. He is on the board of Integrion, a 15-bank consortium a past chairman of the Retail Financial Services Commission for the Bank Administration Institute (BAI), and serves on the advisory board of the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland, and is a member of the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business (SOCAP) and the International Customer Service Association (ICSA).

KeyBank is a the banking unit of KeyCorp (http://www.keybank.com) (NYSE: KEY) is one of the nation’s largest financial services companies. Through three principal lines of business — corporate banking, consumer finance, and community banking — the company’s operating units provide retail and wholesale banking, investment, financing and money management services. Key companies have a presence in 46 states, and operate a nationwide network of KeyCenters, 1,900 ATMs and four telebanking centers (1-800-KEY2YOU).

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Magazine Smartcard

MegaWorld, Inc. (OTC BB: MEGW) today announced its plans to work with SmartCard technology beginning with its initial publishing ventures. MegaWorld has signed an agreement with ITV, Inc., a consulting and marketing company that develops and markets interactive multimedia products and services based in Los Angeles, CA.

“We are thrilled to be working with ITV,” stated Kenneth Hom, Executive Vice President and Multimedia Director of MegaWorld. “They are helping us develop a customized Smartcard where subscribers to our publications can access a host of benefits just by dialing their telephones. This adds even greater value and usefulness to our magazines and newsletters, setting us apart from other publications.”

The SmartCard by ITV will provide access to an informational database developed specifically for MegaWorld. MegaWorld is planning its initial publications for launch in the next few months, including the full color glossy NYC-New York City(TM) Magazine and a newsletter on business opportunities in the Pacific Rim. All subscribers to MegaWorld’s publications will receive the SmartCard by ITV. Through a calling card platform, subscribers can access up-to-the-minute editorial information, entertainment or business directories, travel services, corporate news, long distance services, etc.

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Fleet Gets Personal

Fleet Financial and First Data Resources jointly developed a completely customized credit card statement for Fleet’s cardholders that features a customer-specific, target marketing page. Fleet says it will use the message page to advise cardholders of new products and special program promotions. The messages will vary by customer. For example describing low interest rate opportunities or discounts at the cardholder’s favorite retailer. Fleet said it will also utilize FDR’s duplex printing option to print on both sides of the statement form.

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I-Billing System

Kenan Systems Corporation today announced a significant new release of EC/Arbor(TM), its industry-leading UNIX-based billing and customer care system designed specifically for Internet and electronic commerce service providers offering a variety of services. New features that satisfy the requirements of Internet-based businesses include: more advanced billing features for increased flexibility, improved Web-based customer self-care capabilities for higher customer satisfaction, and a more robust network integration environment to speed initial deployment across a wide range of Internet service delivery and front office platforms. Kenan Systems has deployed its billing and customer care solutions at numerous large Internet and electronic commerce providers, including AT&T WorldNet, GTE Internetworking and Verio.

“Through our work with Internet content and on-line service providers since the early 90s, Kenan Systems has been committed to delivering systems that solve the complex billing and customer care issues facing Internet and electronic commerce service providers,” said Kenan Sahin, president and founder of Kenan Systems. “The introduction of EC/Arbor in 1996 and today’s enhancements, coupled with our experience from many successful customer implementations, reinforce Kenan’s leadership role in providing superior Internet commerce solutions to this dynamic industry. We have the only Internet and electronic commerce billing system in production supporting over one million subscribers and have also implemented our system in as few as three months.”

EC/Arbor is the most production-proven, flexible and easy-to-use answer to the billing and customer care needs of Internet and electronic commerce providers. Internet service providers can easily introduce a wide range of innovative services to both residential and business customers using EC/Arbor’s enhanced message processing capabilities. Competitive providers in today’s market must be able to employ targeted marketing programs designed to increase customer acquisition and loyalty, such as innovative pricing and discount plans. Providers can offer more competitive prices, ranging from simple monthly fees to complex usage-based charges, using EC/Arbor’s highly configurable pricing and rating structures.

EC/Arbor also offers providers and their customers easy access to customer and account information for improved customer care capabilities. With iCARE(TM), an HTML front end for account management and remote access for customer service representatives (CSRs), providers can lower operational costs and increase customer service quality and customer loyalty. Customers can view and modify their own account information over the Internet. Remote CSRs, including dealers and affiliates, can also use iCARE to easily access and modify account information from multiple off-site locations.

With today’s release, EC/Arbor features an expanded 4-tiered client/server architecture that leverages providers’ existing system environments to facilitate rapid deployment. This enhanced architecture offers providers the flexibility to easily add new services and delivery platforms, such as Internet fax or Internet telephony.

Kenan Systems has made major enhancements to EC/Arbor in the following areas:

Enhanced Web-based Customer Self-care and Network Integration Environment:

iCARE — end-users and CSRs at remote locations can access and modify account and service information online.

iCARE also features an expanded network integration architecture and support for real-time network provisioning so that customers and CSRs can add new services to an account in real-time. iCARE’s architecture dramatically decreases implementation time while offering increased flexibility to easily add new service delivery platforms.

Expanded Real-Time Capabilities:

Real-Time Credit Card Authorization — allows customers to activate their service as soon as they establish an account.

Real-Time Network Provisioning — Using iCARE’s network provisioning gateway, providers can benefit from rapid deployment as well as the addition of new network devices.

Expanded User Interface Capability:

Account Segmentation — EC/Arbor offers a secure segmented CSR and end- user account access capability that gives dealer-based CSRs controlled access to only their own customer and account information. As a result, providers can leverage a wide range of business relationships with dealers and affiliate providers.

Advanced Billing and Rating:

Aggregate Usage Rating — allows providers to apply special rate structures based on aggregate usage, such as number of Web hits or downloads per month. This flexibility enables providers to offer innovative pricing and packaging options to their customers.

Availability

This release of EC/Arbor will be generally available in Q3 ’97. EC/Arbor EC/Arbor is a production-proven solution that leverages Kenan Systems’ technology expertise as well as its industry experience through successful deployments of multiple Internet and electronic commerce applications.

EC/Arbor provides comprehensive billing functions including message processing, rating, discounting, bill production, remittance processing, accounts receivable, collections and journaling. At the same time, EC/Arbor provides critical customer care functions such as account provisioning, inquiry and adjustments as well as iCARE. EC/Arbor includes robust open systems APIs to help customers augment the customer care and billing functionality already included in EC/Arbor with their own business rules, specialized integrations and front-end user interfaces.

EC/Arbor, featuring a client/server architecture, is available on DEC, HP, IBM, and Sun UNIX hardware platforms, and now supports Windows 95 and Windows NT clients. Kenan Systems offers a seamless upgrade path to the industrial- strength scalability and functionality of Arbor/BP to support the growth of the organization. EC/Arbor is fully Year 2000 compliant. Kenan Systems provides a full complement of integration, training and maintenance services to support EC/Arbor deployments. In addition, Kenan has forged worldwide partnerships with major corporations, such as AMS, Andersen Consulting, Price Waterhouse and Siemens AG, to integrate and support EC/Arbor within their product and service offerings.

Kenan Systems Corporation

Kenan Systems Corporation provides a suite of software products and services for billing, customer care, order management and decision support to the Internet and electronic commerce, telecommunications, and cable TV industries worldwide. Kenan products and services allow service providers to grow and enhance relationships with their customers, promoting customer satisfaction and retention. With offices throughout the US, Europe and Asia- Pacific, Kenan delivers powerful software solutions to key communications and information services organizations, including AT&T WorldNet, British Telecom, GTE Internetworking, Worldcom/MFS, Optus and Verio. Additional information on Kenan Systems’ products and services may be obtained by calling 1-888-AT- KENAN, visiting Kenan’s World Wide Web site at http://www.kenan.com or via e-mail to info@kenan.com.

NOTE: Kenan, the Kenan logo, EC/Arbor and iCARE are the trademarks or registered trademarks of Kenan Systems Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other product and brand names are the service marks, trademarks, registered trademarks, or registered service marks of their respective owners.

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Standard Register Distributes Smart Cards

Standard Register’s Imaging Services Group today announced it is joining Schlumberger Electronic Transaction’s Associates program to provide personalization and distribution of smart cards to the healthcare, retail and membership markets. Standard Register, the leading document management company to personalize smart card technology in the U.S., will utilize smart card technology to improve the security of electronic documents and e-commerce.

Personalization, the process of taking a “generic” smart card and customizing it with data that is specific to a single-or multi-application card and the individual card holder, is an essential service to implement any smart card applications system. To personalize the cards, Standard Register will image a person’s name and identification number on the card, embed vital statistics in the chip, and customize applications stored on the chip.

For smart card holders, personal identification is essential to provide secure access to company networks, Internet transactions and other electronic commerce applications. Personalization also enables issuers to build brand recognition and customer loyalty by enhancing frequent shopper and similar loyalty programs.

In addition to card personalization, Standard Register will provide specialized fulfillment and secure distribution of smart cards. With specialized fulfillment, Standard Register coordinates ongoing, complicated mailings of smart cards. Secure distribution ensures that card issuers know where every card is from the time that it leaves Standard Register’s plant to arrival at its final destination.

“As an industry leader in developing secure, effective plastic card programs, our customers rely on us to guide them through this evolution of card technology,” says Dave Fehrman, director, Imaging Services Group. “We look forward to offering personalized smart cards to our many card-based customers as well as working with Schlumberger on new business opportunities.”

“Standard Register will play an important role in opening new opportunities for smart cards in business and consumer markets,” says Lou Bisasky, general manager of Schlumberger Smart Cards, North America. “With its depth of knowledge and expertise in card personalization and distribution, as well as an established record of successful card-based programs, Standard Register fills an important niche in our Associates Program.”

Schlumberger offers its customers a flexible portfolio of smart card-based solutions for businesses and communities of all sizes, including the telecom, banking, retail, mass transit & parking, and healthcare sectors. Through its Associates Program, Schlumberger continues to build upon an already comprehensive product line of smart card solutions through associations with leading value-added resellers, integrators and service providers in major vertical markets.

Similar in appearance to a traditional credit card, a smart card is embedded with a microprocessor chip. The chip provides intelligence and computational power similar to that of early personal computers, making smart cards much more secure than magnetic stripe cards. A smart card permits numerous applications – such as secure financial transactions, a frequent shopper database, and storing medical information – to be run by one card.

“We are excited about the potential of smart cards will advocate their benefits to both our customers and their clients,” Fehrman adds. “As the infrastructure is built for universal use of smart cards in the U.S., we will take the lead in distributing smart cards securely into the hands of consumers while helping to fulfill the promises of electronic commerce.”

Since it was formed in 1992, Standard Register’s Imaging Services Group has developed prepaid phone, HMO, ATM, membership, frequent shopper and numerous other plastic card programs.

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New Mondex Chip

Mondex said yesterday it will begin to incorporate a new high security chip, the ‘Mondex H8/3109’, into more than 500,000 Mondex cards to be issued by year’s end. The new chip, developed by Hitachi, utilizes public key cryptography. The Mondex card is a reloadable, multi-currency smart card which allows up to five different currencies to be carried on the card at any one time in separate electronic pockets. Mondex said more than one million reloadable cards will be produced this year with a projected 5 million cards next year.

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Hypercom Gets SET

Hypercom introduced a new line of SET-based Internet commerce products at the ABA Bank Card Conference yesterday and also announced the first chip card loyalty product designed with the assistance of VISA. The new products include ‘PinnacleSET’, ‘PinnacleSET POS’, ‘PinnacleSET Gateway’ and ‘PinnacleSET CA’. The ‘PinnacleSET’ product suite will leverage Hypercom’s client/server product line, the ‘Pinnacle’ transaction environment. Merchants using ‘PinnacleSET’ products will gain advantages for the use of the Internet for transaction modes such as loyalty, chip care and stored-value applications that are now only available through traditional POS devices. Hypercom’s ‘Pinnacle Loyalty Management System’ utilizes chip card technology to allow instant bonus point redemption at the point of sale. ‘LMS’ was piloted earlier this year in China by Hypercom and VISA in a multi-merchant environment.

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