Level Four wins recognition from Scottish Enterprise for innovation and creativity

London, 18 April 2005 – Level Four Software, the leading provider of ATM and POS testing and development software, has won the 2005 Fife Business Award for innovation and creativity from Scottish Enterprise. Level Four won the award for its Bunch Note Acceptor (BNA) and Cheque

Processing Module (CPM) solutions. These are a first for the ATM marketplace as they address a real business need for reliable and complete testing of cash and cheque deposit transactions, helping banks deliver more sophisticated self-service capabilities at cash machines.

Now in its fifth year, the Fife Business Awards highlight the achievements of Fife-based businesses across industry sectors over the past 12 months. The awards are regarded by local organisations as the premier event on the calendar for identifying industry excellence.

Level Four’s BNA and CPM solutions were recognised for their innovation and creativity in responding to the banking industry’s move towards branch automation. Banks are looking to automate time consuming manual operations so that staff can add more value and forge stronger relationships with customers on a one-to-one level. ATM vendors are supporting branch automation by producing ‘smart’ ATMs that offer sophisticated self-service capabilities, such as bunch note acceptance and cheque processing. With bunch note acceptance, cash can be instantly credited to the cardholder’s account, while with cheque processing, the cardholder gets a scanned image of their cheque on the receipt.

The challenge for banks is that ‘smart’ ATMs introduce a new level of interaction with the customer, namely real-time interactions directly with a cardholder’s account. As such, it is imperative that the self-service functionality at ATMs is one hundred per cent secure. Customers also want their cash and cheque deposits at ‘smart’ ATMs to be carried out without inconvenience.

Level Four developed BNA and CPM with Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society, to address its branch automation needs with the deployment of its advanced self-service ‘FAST Till’ ATMs, which include bunch note acceptance and cheque processing functions.

Using Level Four’s BNA and CPM, Nationwide technical staff can view cash and cheque deposits as they would appear on a real ATM using a desktop PC. This enables Nationwide to fully automate the ATM testing process so that staff no longer have to manually test deposits on real ATMs, which is both costly and time consuming.

"A customer-led approach to product development has laid the foundations of our success," said Martin Macmillan, CEO at Level Four Software. "In the banking industry, introducing new customer services is an integral part of business strategy. Prior to new services being deployed at the ATM, thorough testing is imperative because banks cannot afford to test on their customers. We endeavour to support all banks’ ATM testing needs and are delighted that Scottish Enterprise has acknowledged our commitment to the industry."

Level Four was one of nine companies to pick up an award at the ceremony in Fife on 1 April 2005. The winners received a £5,000 prize package, consisting of cash and intervention support from Scottish Enterprise Fife, and a trophy. They also automatically qualify for entry to Scottish Enterprise’s Enterprising Scotland Awards in June 2005, Scotland’s national business awards.

Joe Noble, chief executive Scottish Enterprise Fife, said: "I am delighted that the Business Awards has once again demonstrated that Fife has some of the most dynamic and innovative companies of any region in the UK. I would encourage all businesses in the area to raise their sights, learn from the best and identify the high standards they should be aiming at.

"I would like to congratulate all the winners and finalists on their achievements, and thank them for blazing a trail for Fife business."

Level Four’s BNA and CPM plug in to the company’s flagship ATM Channel Development Suite, a comprehensive toolset providing simple customisation of ATM screens, rapid development of new ATM applications and end-to-end testing of the ATM network. The suite’s automated testing and development tools can simulate the most complex of ATM environments, which makes them suitable to tackle the complexities of Chip and Pin and Triple-DES compliance, as well as simpler updates to ATM screens and transaction flow.

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