A battle brewed over ownership of Electronic Check Conversion, patent No. 5,484,988. Original patent holders, Robert Hills and Henry Nichols, agreed to sell the patent to a Canadian company, LML Payment Systems Inc. However, the pair exercised a repurchase right when LML failed to satisfy funding criteria.
SVPCo estimated check fraud losses to banks totaled $1.3 billion in 1999; losses to payees were projected to be $12 billion. Chain Store Age reported that the card Associations suffered $1 billion in combined fraud losses, while private-label cards lost $250 million. National Consumer League's Internet Fraud Watch estimated consumers lost $3.2 million due to Internet fraud.
Total Systems Services Inc. (TSYS) was well on its way to serving its 210 millionth account and over 300 million consumers worldwide. In 1999, TSYS had converted the Sears Roebuck & Co. portfolio of 64 million retail cards, making it the payments industry's largest conversion to date.
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