New products for the bank card business are traditionally rolled out in September, in conjunction with the American Bankers Association conference, and this year was no exception.
The industry's hardware and software providers, among them Hypercom Inc., Verifone Inc., and HNC Software, unveiled some of the most interesting products at the conference this month.
Hypercom introduced a wireless version of its well-regarded T7P point- of-sale terminal. The wireless T7PR is portable and powered by batteries that can be used for up to 130 transactions, making the unit useful for mobile and temporary location merchants such as delivery, transportation, special events, and kiosks.
The Phoenix-based terminal manufacturer now supports cellular communications and expects to announce radio local-area network and radio two-way applications in coming months.
Hypercom also introduced a new family of printers, which it says are faster than earlier models. The P8F features bidirectional printing at 3.5 lines per second; the P8S prints at three lines per second on preprinted receipts.
Verifone unveiled the Omni 470, a system that combines payment terminal, PIN pad, and printer in a single compact unit. The company says the new unit is an economical solution for merchants who want to accept both debit and credit-card payments at the point of sale.
The Redwood City, Calif.-based company also introduced the Omni 392, designed to provide a bridge between Verifone's widely-installed Tranz family of systems and the new family of Omni systems.
The Omni 392, compatible with either family of systems, is intended for use by retail stores, restaurants, lodging, and other places where cards are accepted for payment. It offers basic point of sale functionality, as well as expandable memory, allowing for the addition of new applications like debit or shopper loyalty.
Verifone also announced the Keyboard 100, a small typewriter-like keyboard that allows cashiers to enter transaction information, fill out forms, or message from terminal to terminal or from terminal to host computer - all without leaving the sales counter. The new keyboard can be plugged into existing point of sale terminal systems.
HNC Software introduced ProfitMax, a software system that features artificial intelligence technology to provide transaction-based, real-time authorization of credit-card payments. The system is also capable of making decisions for managing the profitability of credit- card portfolios.
The San Diego-based company's product uses neural networks, expert rule bases, and the company's patented cardholder behavior profiling technology to analyze each cardholder account and predict its future profit.
Three neural network-based models - credit risk, revenue, and attrition risk - are used along with historical data to give a well-rounded picture of the expected profitability of each account in an issuer's portfolio. The user gets to customize the models, according to its own profit expectations.
Transaction-based scoring enables online, real-time decision making, even during an authorization process.
Deluxe Data Systems Inc. introduced Connex Select Merchant, a real-time credit-card acquiring system.
The new product from the Milwaukee-based company is a relational, transaction-based processing system that provides immediate access to the latest merchant information, allowing financial institutions to be more responsive and provide tighter fraud control.
Select Merchant's profitability-analysis capability allows institutions to review their merchants' processing volumes to adjust prices as necessary.
Card Technology Corp., Paramus, N.J., introduced its Horizon Series system, designed for the centralized production of plastic cards. The new product will allow card issuers to personalize even the most complex card in an efficient, single-pass operation.
The modular design of the new system allows customers to add any of a number of elements to personalize cards, including magnetic encoding, embossing, indent printing, tipping, and the printing of a monochrome color on the card.