Mobile Mondex Payments

M.A.I.D plc have signed a commercial contract with Unisource NV to provide business news to mobile devices. The Project initially will enable users of the Nokia 9000 Communicator mobile phone to download NewsSearch Pro, a news-alerting product developed exclusively for the Unisource partnership, on a pay-per-view basis. NewsSearch Pro utilises the Smart Access payment technology system designed by Unisource. The Smart Access Pilot is being showcased this week by Nokia at Telecom Interactive ’97 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Each of the Nokia 9000 users will receive a NatWest bank account available through a Mondex card. In the trial, users can access their bank accounts, deposit, withdraw cash and check the balance their accounts. They also are able to pay for the M.A.I.D?s NewsSearch Pro service and buy new software applications for their Nokia 9000 Communicators over the web, using the Mondex card.

The user inserts the Mondex card into the smart card reader, plugs the reader into the Nokia 9000 Communicator and downloads the credit over the air. The money can then be used for live, online payments over the Internet whilst mobile.

Dan Wagner, Chief Executive of M.A.I.D plc, said; “The Unisource Smart Access technology provides a way to generate revenue from mobile data devices, complementing and extending our subscription services. Having provided a free quote service to mobile phone users for nearly a year, we are enthusiastic about the opportunities for generating revenue through the advent of new technology and the fast growing mobile marketplace”

Julian Wilson, Director Smart Access of Unisource, said; “M.A.I.D have used our software to enable a pay-per-view business service for mobile users. I applaud M.A.I.D’s ability to optimise their business intelligence service for this new expanding customer base. We look forward to extending this to additional Internet access devices supported by new smart card purse schemes.”

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OrderStream Software Upgraded

CONNECT, Inc. (NASDAQ:CNKT), a leading provider of business-to-business electronic commerce application software, today announced the immediate availability of OrderStream 2.0, the newest update to its award-winning, high-end, packaged Internet commerce application.

CONNECT also announced the immediate availability of the OneServer 2.5 electronic commerce application development platform which will be bundled with OrderStream 2.0 and also sold as a separate product. These two new releases round out one of the most comprehensive electronic commerce product offerings in the market today.

CONNECT OrderStream 2.0 makes it easier to link to EDI and other back-end systems such as SAP R/3 with the addition of the CONNECT Information Exchange Gateway (IEG), which is based on TSI International Ltd.’s data-transformation and mapping tool, Mercator. Other new enhancements include payment capabilities supporting most credit and procurement cards, full support for ActiveX and an easy-to-use catalog administration tool that simplifies the creation and enhancement of Web-based catalogs. With the fully integrated OneServer 2.5 development environment, rich sell-side functionality, easy integration to back-end systems, and the CONNECT Application Workbench for developing, monitoring and maintaining applications, OrderStream 2.0 is the only truly complete and turnkey electronic commerce solution on the market.

According to Ken Ross, executive vice president of development and chief technical officer, CONNECT, Inc: “Over the last five years, large corporations have come to expect leading application vendors to offer faster deployment time, back-end integration, compliance with the latest standards and technologies and a full set of tools to support their products. With OrderStream 2.0, CONNECT is now the first electronic commerce application vendor to adopt this approach and we expect it to add significant value to our market-leading technology. As the market matures, other vendors in our class will be expected to offer this type of end-to-end solution.”

Highlights of Major Enhancements in OrderStream 2.0:

Information Exchange Gateway (IEG) for Back-End Integration

Available as an option, CONNECT’s IEG minimizes the time needed to integrate with back-end systems, enabling the OrderStream application to go live quickly and providing a faster return on investment. For companies looking to link to EDI, ERP and other legacy applications for purchase orders and order status, IEG provides a gateway that includes TSI Software’s Mercator pre-integrated into OrderStream.

“The rapidly growing business-to-business electronic commerce market demands expeditious order fulfillment,” said Connie Galley, president and CEO, TSI International Software Ltd. “By featuring the seamless back-office integration of TSI Software’s Mercator, CONNECT OrderStream continues to be a powerful option for enterprise-class electronic commerce.”

CONNECT Catalog Administration Tool

CONNECT’s Catalog Administration Tool provides non-technical users with an easy-to-use, intuitive way to create and manage catalogs within the OrderStream 2.0 application. While users can create customer-specific catalogs that automate contract-based purchases, administrators can also use the tool to enhance simple product data with additional Web-based multimedia richness such as pictures and longer text. Written entirely in Java and based on the recently announced CONNECT Application Workbench, the Catalog Administration Tool runs on both Windows 95 and Windows NT.

Credit Card Server Integration for Enhanced Payment Options

OrderStream 2.0 also adds value to the end-user by offering the ability for customers to pay for their orders with most credit cards and procurement cards. Both simple authorization only and full authorization and settlement are supported. In addition, authorization can be configured for any amount and incoming orders can be examined for completeness.

E-Mail Notification for Order Status and Approval

In today’s business climate, buyers don’t always have time to call and check on their order. With OrderStream 2.0, buyers can be notified by any standard SMPT-based e-mail system regarding the status of their order and approval routing.

Highlights of Major Enhancements in OneServer 2.5

Included in OrderStream 2.0 is CONNECT’s OneServer 2.5 development platform. OneServer 2.5 offers a foundation for developing high-end electronic commerce applications and is also available as a separate product. OneServer 2.5 includes two new key features, the OneServer X-Bahn and the OneServer Open Object API.

Similar to the OneServer J-Bahn for Java, the OneServer X-Bahn, is an ActiveX control offering full support for building ActiveX applications. The control can be used in both visual and non-visual scripting environments (such as Visual Basic for Applications). Designed to facilitate easier customization and integration, the OneServer Open Object API is a high performance, open interface to define and extend objects within the OneServer environment. It can be used for real-time integration to existing enterprise systems and to customize OrderStream 2.0, without having to use cumbersome Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripting.

CONNECT Application Workbench for Managing the Application Lifecycle

Announced last month, the CONNECT Application Workbench, an end-to-end solution for managing the application throughout its lifecycle is available as an option in OrderStream 2.0. The CONNECT Application Workbench provides extensions to three third-party tools: CONNECT Object Designer, based on Rational Rose for drag-and-drop creation of OneServer objects; CONNECT Application Component for Java (ACE), based on Marimba’s Bongo for rapid creation of Java-based, back-office administrative tools; and CONNECT Reporting Tools for advanced gathering of business intelligence with reports from COGNOS’ Impromptu desktop reporting and PowerPlay OLAP tools. Fifteen standard buyer and seller reports are provided in OrderStream 2.0.

CONNECT’s Application Workbench also includes two CONNECT- designed tools: CONNECT Site Manager for distributed management of application loading and staging and faster modification to all CONNECT applications; and CONNECT Operations Monitoring Console for comprehensive monitoring of all critical application and server functions such as performance, load balancing and bottlenecks.

Pricing and Availability

CONNECT’s OrderStream 2.0 is available immediately and is priced on a per processor basis beginning at $100,000, which includes a license for OneServer 2.5. The CONNECT IEG starts at $25,000. A version of the IEG supporting SAP R/3 is also available, although pricing has not yet been determined. CONNECT’s Application Workbench is priced at $5,000 per CONNECT application for an unlimited number of seats. The third party applications themselves will be available directly from Rational, Marimba and Cognos respectively or through their authorized resellers. CONNECT OneServer 2.5 is also sold separately and begins at $90,000 per processor.

About CONNECT OrderStream

CONNECT OrderStream, built on CONNECT’s OneServer architecture, is an end-to-end, business-to-business electronic commerce application designed to solve complex business challenges and support key functions necessary for large-scale interactive commerce, including: adaptive response, user registration, personalized catalog and content management, dynamic merchandising, order capture and management, security, payment processing, enterprise integration and systems administration.

About CONNECT OneServer

CONNECT OneServer provides a foundation to develop high-end, business-to-business electronic commerce applications. OneServer incorporates the Oracle 7.3 database, the Netscape Enterprise Server, the Fulcrum text search engine and a five-layer security model using RSA protocols and VeriSign digital certificates. It fully supports both Web browsers and custom client applications, such as Java and ActiveX. The OneServer architecture reduces the amount of custom code and CGI scripting necessary for dynamic site content, resulting in rapid time-to-market for enterprise-class electronic commerce applications.

About CONNECT, Inc.

CONNECT designs, develops, markets and supports enterprise application software for electronic commerce. Its software applications, OneServer, OrderStream and PurchaseStream, allow global companies to automate order capture, build customer intimacy and streamline distribution and supply chain processes.

CONNECT’s end-to-end software solutions are designed to reduce the time and overall cost for businesses to implement and maintain secure and industry-standard sales, marketing and order capture capabilities on the World Wide Web to support large numbers of customers, products and transactions. These solutions reduce costs, increase market share, improve customer satisfaction and enhance demand chain visibility. For more information, telephone 800/262-2638 or access the CONNECT World Wide Web site at [http://www.connectinc.com .][1]

[1]: http://www.connectinc.com

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Integrated Debit, Credit & Mondex

International Verifact Inc. and Royal Bank of Canada announced today that they will install Canada’s first complete electronic payment solution for debit, credit and Mondex smart cards in Guelph, Ontario.

Guelph was the first city in North America to be chosen for a community-wide launch of the Mondex system. The launch has been under way since February 1997, and nearly 600 merchant outlets are participating.

The payment solution to be installed in Guelph is an innovative approach to handling Mondex and traditional card payments while preserving the hardware and software base that Royal Bank merchants have invested in. A new IVI PIN (personal identification number) Pad will be attached to Royal Bank terminals to accept the Mondex smart card as well as to allow PIN entry for debit transactions.

“Consumers will either insert their Mondex card into the hand-held `PIN Pad’ to complete a smart card transaction or enter their PIN to complete a debit transaction,” said Frank Moore, Vice President, Merchant and Point of Sale Service, Royal Bank. “We believe this will increase user acceptance of the new solution because consumers do not have to adapt to an unfamiliar process.”

IVI is using a newly-developed PIN Pad that interfaces with Royal Bank’s existing hardware. The PIN Pad was developed jointly by IVI and their strategic partner, Ingenico S.A. of Paris, France.

“When you bundle the unique designs and small card capabilities of Ingenico with IVI’s PIN security and Canadian point-of-sale software expertise, as well as with Royal Bank’s support and knowledge of Mondex payment technology, you come up with a winning combination for advanced card technologies and traditional POS solutions,” said L. Barry Thomson, IVI’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Royal Bank is a member of Royal Bank Financial Group, one of North America’s largest financial institutions and Canada’s leading provider of traditional banking services, investment banking, investment management, and securities custody.

IVI is engaged in the design, development and sale of electronic payment solutions for retailers, financial institutions, governments and other businesses. IVI’s hardware and software products include point-of-sale debit/credit/EFT/EBT terminals, check readers, smart card readers, POS printers, and secure PIN entry devices. Additional company information is available on the IVI website at [www.ivinet.com.][1]

[1]: http://www.ivinet.com

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New NBS School Card

NBS Technologies Inc. (TSE:NBS., OTC Bulletin Board:NBSTF.) NBS Technologies Inc. through its Solutions Group has brought the University of Manchester, England, into the future with the introduction of an advanced identity card program. Approximately 12,000 returning students, previously issued with cards, indicated their arrival on campus with a swipe of a card during this year’s registration.

The new identity system has assisted in improving registration procedures for more than 20,000 students and 6,000 staff. This system has also been used by the Students’ Union for recording the issue of items to students, as well as verifying and recording the students’ voting eligibility in Student Union elections.

The identity card project was initiated by a small team under the chairmanship of a Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University when searching for alternatives to the old laminated paper-based library card. The paper-based cards required replacing every year, and did not provide for electronic registration.

In view of the significance of the contract, the University of Manchester, in conjunction with the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), ultimately selected a proposal from NBS Technologies from the companies competing in the open tendering process. Working as a team with the Stationery Office (formerly HMSO), NBS has previously provided systems for higher education establishments such as Kingston University, and the security conscious armed services and Palace of Westminister.

“NBS is developing solutions to specifically meet the needs of the education sector,” commented Peter Mann, Director of NBS Solutions in Europe. “Our success at Manchester is very important for many reasons, not the least of which is the reinforcement of the reputation of NBS as a leader of solutions for this market.”

Sian Nash, Director of Finance at the University has been given the responsibility for managing the implementation of the identity card system. The cards were introduced with the support and cooperation of the Students’ Union.

The PVC card design includes information which is computer generated and electronically printed, showing a photo image of the card holder and incorporating a bar code for library purposes as well as the standard magnetic stripe. Feedback from the student body has been positive, with card life expectancy to be the duration of the undergraduate degree program, or approximately three years. At the expiration of the three year period, procedures are in place to cancel cards of graduated students and those that have otherwise left the University’s curriculum.

The magnetic stripe gives the NBS card system the potential to interface with a wide variety of other applications such as photocopy accounts, cashless vending and access control as part of the University’s growth migration path.

Given tight budgets and rising administrative costs, NBS is working in partnership with educational institutions to improve registration, payment and security processes to reduce costs and improve services and security. NBS Solutions is uniquely positioned to offer a variety of flexible approaches, including smart cards, to meet the educational market’s needs.

NBS Solutions is a part of NBS Technologies Inc., a multinational information technology company that designs, manufactures and markets an integrated line of point of sale transaction automation systems, personalization equipment, secure identification and access control systems, plastic cards and related products and services. Customers cover a wide range of market segments including financial institutions, hospitals, universities, government agencies, retailers, oil companies, and marketing organizations. NBS is a Toronto based public company with operations in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The company’s shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “NBS”.

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PaylinX for Site Server

PaylinX Corporation today announced availability of “PaylinX for Site Server,” a product that makes the PaylinX portfolio of enterprise payment servers readily available to Microsoft(R) Site Server, Enterprise Edition customers. PaylinX, a leader in payment server technology, fully embraces Microsoft’s Internet commerce strategy and is tightly integrated with Microsoft Site Server, a member of the Microsoft BackOffice(TM) family, allowing merchants to exploit future industry developments while protecting them from technological obsolescence.

The PaylinX payment server introduces a radically new approach for handling purchases from customers through the creation of a flexible, enterprise-wide resource servicing a diverse group of payment types, including VISA, MasterCard or American Express, corporate purchasing cards, and prepaid buying instruments. According to Bob Lozano, PaylinX president, “This approach is unique in its ability to simultaneously support real time transaction processing over the Internet along with handling call center agents, interactive voice response platforms and legacy billing/order-entry systems.”

Gordon Orr, retail systems product manager at Microsoft, said “PaylinX is very appealing to merchants since they are able to take a single, unified approach to processing payments from all their customers. Organizations will appreciate the way PaylinX simplifies operations and lowers costs. With PaylinX, Microsoft customers are able to use next-generation payment technology today.”

“PaylinX for Site Server” brings the benefits of PaylinX to merchants utilizing Microsoft Site Server. Easy to install, configure and operate, “PaylinX for Site Server” delivers the best in payment technology and enables a Site Server merchant to begin accepting payments the very first day of operation…straight out of the box.

PaylinX insulates merchants from changes in payment technology by continually incorporating the latest industry standards into the product’s framework. This ensures a logical migration path for PaylinX customers when new standards are adopted, optimally positioning them to exploit new opportunities. For example, a merchant committed to serving buyers via real- time Internet payment options can confidently launch his or her site today with PaylinX and industry-standard SSL encryption technology. Later, as SET becomes widely adopted, the merchant can smoothly segue with PaylinX SET support, minimizing disruption to systems or operations.

“PaylinX fully supports the Microsoft Internet Commerce strategy,” President Lozano added. “Teaming PaylinX with Microsoft Site Server and the Open Payment Architecture enables the merchant to take credit card payments immediately while laying the foundation for the migration to SET 1.0, 2.0, and other future developments.”

PaylinX levels the playing field for the merchant. By leveraging Payment Pipes(TM) technology, PaylinX secures flexibility in selecting credit card banking relationships…giving back much needed control and choices to those driving the business.

“Merchants are facing significant uncertainty,” Microsoft’s Orr pointed out. “The prospect of constant change in the technological and business landscapes further complicates the mix of sorting through tactical positioning issues. Microsoft is establishing a commerce strategy and delivering products to help merchants deal with that change. PaylinX has taken a similar approach in payment technology. Together, these platforms are a winning combination for merchants interested in the long-run.”

Lozano concluded, “Microsoft clearly understands that merchants want choices. The integration of PaylinX solutions with the Microsoft Site Server and BackOffice product family is a clear acknowledgment that payment servers are an excellent way to accept payments from customers and that PaylinX is the leader in payment servers.”

For more information on PaylinX for Site Server, please see [http://www.paylinx.com/siteserver/.][1] For more information on payment servers, see the white paper at [http://www.paylinx.com/paylinx/pbrochure.html.][2] PaylinX for Site Server and the PaylinX V2.4 payment server are generally available and currently shipping.

PaylinX Corporation is an innovator in the field of electronic commerce and the leader in enterprise payment servers. PaylinX software is available from PaylinX Value Added Resellers, PaylinX OEM Partners or directly from the company. PaylinX Corporation is a privately held venture headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri USA and can be reached at 314.692.0929 or [http://www.paylinx.com.][3]

PaylinX, Personal PaylinX, PaylinX Workgroup, PaylinX for Site Server, and “Electronic Commerce. Today.” are trademarks of the PaylinX Corporation. Microsoft, Microsoft Site Server, and BackOffice are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

[1]: http://www.paylinx.com/siteserver/
[2]: http://www.paylinx.com/paylinx/pbrochure.html
[3]: http://www.paylinx.com

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IBM Targets Small E-Business

IBM rolled out a range of internet commerce products and services targeted at small business yesterday. The announcement includes a new version of the IBM ‘Net.Commerce’ merchant server, designed to enable SET commerce transactions on any merchant server. The new version of ‘Net.Commerce’ will start at under $5,000 for small businesses. IBM also unveiled the ‘CommercePOINT Payments’ family, the industry’s first suite of end-to-end solutions using the SET 1.0 specification. The family includes IBM ‘CommercePOINT Wallet’ for storing, organizing and controlling electronic payment forms such as credit and debit cards; IBM ‘CommercePOINT eTill,’ an electronic cash register; IBM ‘CommercePOINT Gateway’ to enable acquiring institutions to process SET credit card transactions by linking those institutions with the Internet; and’ IBM Registry’ for SET, which provides the technology to issue and manage the encrypted digital certificates that underlie all SET transactions.

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RSA Encryption for VISA Cash Pilot

RSA Data Security, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Security Dynamics Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: SDTI), announced today that Visa International plans to conduct a market trial of RSA public-key encrypted smart cards in the United Kingdom and Japan. Visa International and its Member financial institutions plan to launch a new merchant card which uses a Philips Semiconductors P83C858 cryptocontroller chip. The cards are used by merchants to access terminals which accept Visa Cash stored value cards.

The Philips cryptocontroller, utilizing RSA public-key cryptography, will be embedded in credit-card sized devices that are designed to securely authenticate a merchant’s confidential financial information — including bank balances, digital IDs and other information. In addition, the card will be used to configure, validate and protect reader terminals that can accept and authenticate Visa cash cards.

RSA’s public-key cryptography enables mutually authenticated, high- security payment transactions to be processed off-line. The trial is expected to involve more than 15,000 cards in the United Kingdom and several hundred cards in Japan.

“We congratulate Visa International and Philips Semiconductors on the deployment of this widespread financial trial of secure smart card technology,” said Jim Bidzos, president of RSA. “We’re pleased that RSA encryption is playing a key role in enabling applications that require privacy for protecting sensitive financial and personal data.

“For applications of smart cards that involve one’s own money, there’s no such thing as too much security. Philips’ high-quality arithmetic cryptocoprocessor that supports RSA, the world’s brand name in cryptography, provides performance that makes using the card fast and easy.”

“We wanted exceptional security and functionality, plus high performance and memory sizes,” said Irv Wentzien, senior vice president, Visa International. “We are confident that the trials using this advanced chip and technology will help us conduct secure cash transfers.”

“Philips Semiconductors is excited that its smart card cryptocontrollers, which have been embraced by pay-TV conditional access systems, are becoming mainstream in financial applications,” said William Weiss, smart card IC marketing manager at Philips. “We are confident the security and convenience of Visa’s financial transaction system, based on RSA public-key cryptography and Philips’ cryptocontroller, will chart the way forward for public-key cryptographic financial smart cards.”

RSA Data Security, Inc.

RSA Data Security, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Security Dynamics Technologies, Inc., is the world’s brand name for cryptography, with more than 80 million copies of RSA encryption and authentication technologies installed and in use worldwide. RSA technologies are part of existing and proposed standards for the Internet and World Wide Web, CCITT, ISO, ANSI, IEEE, and business, financial and electronic commerce networks around the globe. The company develops and markets platform-independent developer’s kits and end- user products and provides comprehensive cryptographic consulting services.

Founded in 1982 by the inventors of the RSA Public Key Cryptosystem, the company is headquartered in Redwood City, Calif. All product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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Digital’s virtualStore Program

Digital Equipment Corporation announced today it will team with Wells Fargo & Company , in collaboration with Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) and VeriFone, Inc., to offer customers the virtualStore Program. This complete Internet-based electronic commerce solution meets the growing demands of companies interested in pursuing retail business, sales, and marketing on the Internet. The announcement was made at the Internet Commerce Exposition here.

According to a recent study by Forrester Research Inc., the value of retail electronic commerce could skyrocket from $0.5 billion this year to $7 billion by the year 2000. virtualStore makes it simpler for retailers to understand and implement secure Internet commerce solutions that will expand their markets and reduce costs.

“Large companies and mid-sized businesses can now purchase a total solution for their Internet commerce requirements,” said Ted McKie, director of business development for Digital’s Internet Practice.

“The teaming of Digital, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, and VeriFone delivers the affordability and expertise companies need to take advantage of this exciting new trend in business.”

Total Solutions

Digital Worldwide Services will provide the hardware, software, and services to establish a secure and effective retail store on the Internet. Each package will include a Pentium Pro-based Prioris server running a Microsoft Site Server Enterprise Edition Storefront, as well as services to help organizations simplify the design and implementation of the Internet solutions. Wells Fargo will supply Internet credit card clearing services utilizing its Wells Fargo branded VeriFone vPOS merchant software. virtualStore packages are priced at three levels: entry-level, mid-range and high-demand.

“Wells Fargo was first in the industry to offer secure credit card processing over the Internet,” said Michelle Banaugh, vice president of marketing for Wells Fargo’s Electronic Payment Solutions. “The virtualStore Program enhances Wells Fargo’s ability to offer merchants flexible and powerful solutions for their Internet Commerce initiatives.”

A Booming Market

Web commerce transactions will quadruple this year, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). With nearly 90 percent of large companies conducting business on the Internet and 68 million Web users, electronic commerce is a booming retail channel.

“Many companies realize that electronic commerce solutions will help them save exorbitant costs usually associated with opening and maintaining a physical retail store, or printing, mailing, and providing customer service for catalogs,” said McKie. “The virtualStore will enable them to expand their markets, reduce costs, improve customer support, and gain a competitive edge in the market,” he added.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo & company has been serving the financial needs of small businesses since 1852, when Wells Fargo agents operated banking and express offices during the California Gold Rush. Today, Wells Fargo & Company is the ninth largest bank holding company in the country, with $101.9 billion in assets. The Wells Fargo homepage is located at [http://www.wellsfargo.com.][1]

Digital Equipment Corporation, recognized for product and service excellence, is a leading supplier of high-performance, Web-based computing solutions which help enterprises compete in the global marketplace. Digital gives its customers a winning Internet advantage through a comprehensive portfolio of Internet solutions based on award-winning systems, advanced networking infrastructure, innovative software, and industry applications including those from its business partners. The expertise and experience of Digital employees help customers plan, design, implement, manage and support Internet solutions in countries throughout the world. For the latest company information, visit Digital on the World Wide Web at

[1]: http://www.wellsfargo.com

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Citi I-Card Bonds Rated

Citibank Credit Card Master Trust I’s (CCIMT I) $750 million floating-rate class A credit card participation certificates, series 1997-8, are expected to be rated ‘AAA’ by Fitch. The corresponding $48 million class B certificates will be privately placed. In addition, Fitch expects to affirm all CCIMT I ratings, indicating the issuance of series 1997-8 will not result in a reduction or withdrawal of current ratings assigned to outstanding trust certificates.

The expected rating reflects the quality of the receivables generated from Visa and MasterCard credit card accounts, the available credit enhancement, the servicing expertise of Citibank (South Dakota) and transaction’s sound legal and financial structures.

Class A’s enhancement, equal to 11% of the total initial invested amount, is derived from a 5% shared cash collateral account (CCA) and the subordination of the 6% class B certificates. The shared CCA will first support class A then class B, covering losses not paid by excess finance charge collections.

Credit enhancement levels were determined by stressing portfolio steady state yield and payment rate assumptions to determine the level of defaults the enhancement could sustain. Class A is able to support a 35% decrease in yield, payment rates dropping in half and defaults increasing 5 times and still make full and timely payments to investors.

Class A investors will receive quarterly interest payments of three-month LIBOR plus 0.03% throughout the revolving and accumulation periods and on the scheduled final payment date. If an early payout occurs, class A investors will receive monthly interest payments. Following the variable accumulation period, principal is expected to be paid in September 2000.

Series 1997-8’s terms contain an accelerated payout feature to protect investors from deteriorating collateral or a servicer default. If certain triggers are breached, the amounts available in the 5% shared CCA will be drawn upon and immediately distributed to class A investors.

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Australian Smart Phonecards

American Banknote Corporation announced today that Leigh-Mardon, the Company’s Australian-based subsidiary, was awarded a smartcard contract by Telstra, Australia’s national telephone company. The contract, expected to be worth a minimum of a$18 million over three years, will be there first countrywide application of smartcard technology in Australia and is aimed at upgrading Australia’s public payphone network integrating a general purpose electronic purse system for financial transactions. Leigh-Mardon is gearing up its equipment for large-scale production with an initial capacity of 20 million smartcards annually. Telstra is expected to require at least 10 million smartcards per year.

Morris Weissman, American Banknote’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “This contract demonstrates our advantage being the major local producer of smartcards in Australia. Telstra and Coca-Cola plan a joint marketing effort to allow consumers to buy Coke from vending machines with the Telstra smartcard. Both Telstra’s and Coke’s strong presence in the Pacific Rim should prove to be advantageous in extending American Banknote’s business in the important geographic area. We expect that other companies in a broad range of industry sectors will follow Coca-Cola’s lead thereby increasing the applications for the Telstra smartcard as a payment medium.”

Through this contract, Leigh-Mardon will be able to offer an integrated range of smartcard related products and services to clients including the manufacture, personalization, secure storage and distribution of cards as well as the supply and related service of terminals and manufacturing equipment.

Weissman concluded, “We are continuously expanding the capabilities of our Transaction Cards & Systems Group so that we can be a total solutions provider for our customers.”

American Banknote Corporation is a leading global provider of secure transaction documents and systems in carefully selected markets along three major product groups: Transaction Cards & Systems, Printing Services & Document Management, and Security Printing Solutions. A combined strategy of operating along product lines and constant expansion of transaction activities worldwide reflects the rapidly changing field of electronic commerce. Additionally, American Banknote, via its Holographics subsidiary, is the world leader in security for financial transaction cards, including VISA, MasterCard, Discover, Diners Club International, and Europay.

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Summer Card Losses Up

Card bond chargeoffs shifted direction in August rising to 6.91% according to the Fitch Credit Card Performance Index. Fitch anticipated higher chargeoffs for the July collection period, due to an accounting change at First USA and the continued record pace of bankruptcy filings.. Bankruptcies continue to represent a significant portion of chargeoffs and signs indicate no immediate relief. Second quarter 1997 filing represent a 10% increase over first quarter 1997 and 30% over second quarter 1996.. Bankruptcies are expected to top 1.3 million this year. For issuers reporting higher chargeoffs, the weighted average increase was 17%, while the weighted average decrease of issuers who reported improved results were 7%.

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Federated’s Family of Cards

Federated Department Stores announced Monday a new national customer rewards program called ‘Family of Cards’. The announcement follows three years of prototype development. Family of Cards is a multi-tiered program offering complimentary gift wrap, basic alterations, free shipping coupons, private discount shopping nights and a quarterly newsletter. Federated will also launch a co-branded credit card, which offers three percent rewards on purchases from Federated stores and one percent on VISA purchases elsewhere, both redeemable in merchandise gift certificates.

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