U.S. Wireless pulled the plug on its Direct Data subsidiary. But the smart- card terminal manufacturer made the best of the situation by taking advantage of the point of sale terminal marketer's employee pool. The subsidiary of the British security printing company De La Rue PLC has opened a North American sales office in Hartland, Wis., where Direct Data had its headquarters. After signing a distribution agreement with De La Rue Fortronic in January, Direct Data was dismantled by its new parent, U.S. Wireless, at the end of September, leaving De La Rue without North American representation. De La Rue quickly set up its own operations in Hartland. Michael Malahy, a former Direct Data executive who is De La Rue's vice president of sales and marketing, said the office is responsible for technical applications, software, support services, and repairs of the De La Rue product line previously marketed by Direct Data. As the certified terminal manufacturer for Mondex, De La Rue Fortronic is supplying devices for the pilot programs in Swindon, England, and at Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco as well as the upcoming trial in Guelph, Ontario, Mr. Malahy said. He said the company is benefiting from the "strong developments" in stored value in the United States and Canada. De La Rue will supply terminals for the Atlanta rollout of the Visa Cash chip card, and Mr. Malahy said the company is actively working with Electronic Payment Services Inc., part of the Smart Cash group. "I feel confident we will provide some products for the Delaware rollout," he said, "but I don't have a purchase order yet." But he said the company recently snagged "a big order" from Nova Information Systems Inc. for a terminal with magnetic stripe and smart card capability.

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