Pennies Galore

Coinstar reported last week that an Alaska man has broken the national all-time penny cash-in record at the company’s supermarket-based coin collection machines. The man cashed in 792,141 pennies. It took nearly 27 hours to cash in the pennies through the machines. He began by taking $5,000 worth of pennies in $500 batches to Coinstar machines throughout Anchorage. Coinstar says it takes the average person 1 hour to count $13.50 worth of pennies. The Coinstar machines count coins at the rate of 600 per minute. The company maintains a network of more than 8,800 coins-to-cash machines nationally. The company is currently developing a deal to issue a MasterCard-branded prepaid card through its network. (CF Library 2/21/01)

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Flooz Down

The “perfect Internet gift certificate” may be a thing of the past as another dot-com suspends operations. NYC-based Flooz.com announced Friday it has temporarily pulled the plug on its Web site pending efforts to locate a merger partner. The company offered an everyday gift-giving currency for consumers and businesses on the Web that was sent by e-mail and accepted at a variety of online stores. Flooz.com also offered a free, personalized reminder service for holidays, birthdays and other special occasions and online account access. CA-based Internet credit card pioneer, NextCard, was a minority investor and marketing partner. Besides NextCard, Flooz has signed acceptance agreements with online stores including Barnes&Noble.com, Toysrus.com, Godivachocolatier.com, TowerRecords.com, Starbucks.com, Gymboree.com, Fogdog.com, and at least sixty others. During Feb 2000, Nextcard and Flooz.com had signed an e-commerce marketing alliance whereby NextCard would integrate Flooz.com’s online gift currency into NextCard’s e-Commerce platform, cardholder services and ongoing promotions. In return, Flooz would exclusively market and promote the NextCard to its customers and pay NextCard a referral fee for each new Flooz customer generated from either NextCard’s application process or current cardholder base. NextCard also agreed to make a significant minority investment in Flooz.com. It represented the first equity investment in an e-commerce company by NextCard. Flooz raised approximately $35 million from investors and spent about $8 million in an ad campaign featuring Whoopi Goldberg. (CF Library 2/9/00; 7/5/00)

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MOBILE COKES

NTT DoCoMo and Coca-Cola will deploy 25 vending machines in Tokyo during
September to enable consumers to buy Coke using electronic tokens stored on
their mobile phones. The new vending machines will also enable users to
surf the Internet, buy tickets and print out local maps. Mobile phone
operators are looking for additional revenues streams in the wake of market
saturation and experimentation with electronic transactions.

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OPC Signs ND

Official Payments Corporation, (www.officialpayments.com), announced new agreements with seven separate North Dakota county governments to provide a service where taxpayers can pay their property tax obligation by credit card over the Internet or telephone.

These new agreements represent Official Payments first business in North Dakota. By adding these North Dakota counties Official Payments now does business in forty-eight states. Cass County, McLean County, Morton County, Grand Forks County, Richland County, Ramsey County, and Sargent County are the North Dakota municipalities who have entered into agreements with Official Payments. The combined County authorities collected approximately $109.8MM in taxes last year. Property tax second installment is due October 15, 2001. 2001 property tax bills will be distributed December 15, 2001. Property tax payers who pay their bills by February 15, 2002, will receive a 5% reduction in their total tax bill. The service is expected to go live later this year.

“We are pleased to have established a foothold in North Dakota,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman and CEO of Official Payments. “We have had great experience in growing our business organically in other states. We think this is a good start in gaining business in other North Dakota counties and with other mid-west municipalities,” added Mr. Evans.

Official Payments Corp. charges taxpayers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found on the Internet at www.officialpayments.com. For example, a taxpayer who owed a current tax of $500.00 in property taxes and charged their taxes, would find a total of $516.00 on their credit card statement: $500.00 for the tax bill and $16.00 for the convenience fee. American Express, MasterCard and Visa are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back on airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.

About Official Payments Corporation

Official Payments Corporation (Nasdaq: OPAY) is the leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company’s principal business is enabling consumers to pay their government taxes, fees, fines, and utility bills by credit card, via Internet and telephone. The company is unequaled in market penetration and national footprint. Official Payments has agreements to collect and process credit card payments with the Internal Revenue Service, 18 state governments, the District of Columbia, and over 900 county and municipal governments in 48 states across the United States. In 2000, Official Payments collected and processed over $925 million in federal, state and local government payments.

Official Payments was founded in the San Francisco Bay area in 1996. Thomas R. Evans, the former President & CEO of the Internet company GeoCities, became Chairman & CEO of Official Payments in the summer of 1999. Mr. Evans brought Official Payments public in November of 1999, raising $80 million in its IPO on the NASDAQ national market. The company’s success in new client acquisition, increasing business with its existing clients and in building consumer awareness can be attributed to the combination of an enormous market opportunity with a highly skilled and experienced management and staff, aggressive sales and marketing, and a core competency in developing and implementing leading-edge technical systems.

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CISCO POS

Precidia Technologies Inc. announced a business relationship with Cisco
Systems Canada to market solutions to
help Canadian retailers reduce networking costs and increase the
functionality of their existing POS equipment.

The solution combines the strength of Cisco’s network router technology with
Precidia’s access devices targeted to the retail payments industry. By
coupling products from both companies, merchants may recognize savings in
their current communications costs, while harnessing the benefits of new and
exciting services for customer retention and loyalty.

“This relationship is a natural fit for Cisco,” said Nitin Kawale, Director
of Operations, Enterprise Sales, Cisco Systems Canada. “Cisco prides itself
on providing end-to-end enterprise network solutions. With Precidia’s access
devices complementing Cisco network products, we create an excellent team
that makes end-to-end retail solutions a reality. We admire Precidia’s
in-depth understanding of the protocols and needs of the POS market.
Together we provide a solution to merchants that maximizes their return on
investment, while reducing the risk and complexity in migrating to a new IP
network.”

Deepak Wanner, President of Precidia Technologies, says the solution is
geared to the needs of Canadian retailers. “Until now retailers have been
reluctant to implement IP technology because of the cost of replacing aging
legacy equipment. Precidia makes the older equipment part of the new
solution. Together Precidia and Cisco offer existing retail equipment a new
lease on life by migrating it onto modern IP networks. Overcoming this
hurdle is only the beginning; the future holds an even stronger value
proposition as new services are brought to the checkout counter, from the
advanced network connectivity solutions that Cisco and Precidia are
offering,” said Mr. Wanner.

Retailers have already begun to take advantage of the bundled offering.
Chapters, Canada’s largest bookseller, deployed Precidia’s Ether3201 product
with their Cisco Powered IP VPN in over 78 of its locations. Anuj Jaitly,
Manager, Communications Services, Chapters Inc, says “The solution has
performed flawlessly since its deployment in Fall 2000. Installation was
simple and seamless to existing systems, allowing Chapters to substantially
reduce our communications costs while enhancing our network management
capability.”

About Precidia Technologies

Precidia Technologies Inc., based in Ottawa, Canada, is a global leader in
the design and manufacture of IP enabling technologies for a wide range of
industries, including retail payments. Precidia’s advanced IP technology
seamlessly migrates retail payment terminals and other equipment onto more
sophisticated IP networks. Precidia’s unique product line consists of
cost-effective access devices, both wired and wireless, and chip technology.

For more information, visit Precidia on the Web at

About Cisco Systems Canada

Cisco Systems is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.
Established in 1990, Cisco Systems Canada Co. has over 375 employees across
Canada dedicated to sales and service. In addition, Cisco has approximately
400 employees at its research and development site in Ottawa, Ontario.
The Internet is changing the way people work, live, learn and play – and
Cisco Systems is a primary agent of this change and a compelling example of
the power of this revolution. By widely deploying business solutions based
on the Internet, Cisco Systems realizes over $1.35 billion (US) per year in
saved operating costs and increased productivity Cisco produces networking
solutions for enterprise organizations, service providers and small/emerging
businesses. Additional information on the company and its products can be
found at .

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USWD Consolidation

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc., a leader in wireless transaction processing, has announced the consolidation of its technical operations into the company’s Palmer Lake, Colorado facility.

The consolidation is a major milestone in USWD’s integration of its facilities and operations from recent acquisitions, including NXT Corporation, acquired in December of 2000, and Cellgate Technologies, acquired in November of 2000. USWD’s consolidation process began in January of this year and the latest integration efforts are scheduled for completion by November 30, 2001. The recent consolidation announcement will result in a reduction of 33 employees, bringing the total reductions since January 2001 to 47 employees or nearly 50% of the workforce. The acquisition of NXT brought together complementary technologies that provide a full array of services related to credit card, debit card, and other point-of-sale transactions. Although similar in many ways, the services acquired with NXT utilize landline networks, whereas USWD’s Synapse(SM) services utilize wireless networks. By fully integrating operations, administration, sales and support, USWD will achieve significant cost savings and can offer a seamless package of wired and wireless transaction products and services, creating the only “one-stop-shop” in the transaction processing industry.

Dean M. Leavitt, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Wireless Data, explained, “These actions reflect our commitment to increase shareholder value by consolidating our operations while at the same time maintaining the quality service and technological expertise that our customers expect.”

“Our integration efforts since January 2001 have reduced operating expenses by 32%, which represents $8.4 million in annual cost savings, moving us substantially closer to our goal of breakeven cash flow from operations in early calendar year 2002. On the revenue side, we have grown our revenue sevenfold to $4.1 million in the past fiscal year as the number of retail locations that we serve continues to expand monthly.”

In conjunction with the latest integration activities, USWD recorded pretax charges totaling $2.4 million, or $0.20 per share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal year ended June 30, 2001, related to the consolidation for moving costs, disposal of assets not used in the primary operations facility, and the estimated impact of vacating the unused facilities, net of potential subleases. In addition, the company will record $1.2 million or $0.10 per share in the first fiscal quarter of 2002, related to employee severance, benefits, and relocation costs.

ABOUT U.S. WIRELESS DATA

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. ([www.uswirelessdata.com][1]), founded in 1991, markets Synapse(SM), its proprietary technology for wireless point of sale (POS) and ATM transactions. By providing a seamless interface among all parties including terminal manufacturers, wireless carriers, and payment processors, Synapse enables payment card and ATM transactions to be processed extremely fast, without the cost and inconvenience of a telephone line. Synapse’s Internet-based tools offer on-line, real-time transaction monitoring, remote diagnostics and automated terminal activation. NXT, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, provides landline transaction and data transport solutions to the transaction industry, and processes more than 500 million transactions each year. U.S. Wireless Data is headquartered in New York City.

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

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BILLS ONLINE

Banks, insurance firms, and utility companies are just some of the sectors to benefit from Consignia’s latest technology, with bill payment services going from the high street into the virtual world, as it prepares to launch its Bills Online™ service.

The service provides a one-stop-shop for bill management, so in ‘two clicks’ customers can view, pay and store a range of bills via a single, secure, easy to use website, free of charge – with the added convenience of accessing the service on any PC, in any home, at any time, anywhere in the world.

Bill issuers, such as utility companies, will pay a small fee per presentment and payment of their bills to Consignia covering their use of the service and management of the system as well as an initial establishment fee.

“We have developed this technology to enable billing companies to offer their customers another choice for how they view, pay and store their bills,” said Jim Pang, Consignia’s Director of Electronic Services.

“In an increasingly competitive marketplace, bill issuers recognize the need to provide value-added services which meet their customers’ needs. Consignia’s Bills Online™ service will provide customers with the convenience of accessing their bills in one place rather than visiting billers’ sites individually and we believe that this will be their preference.

“The service will have the trust and integrity of the Post Office brand and clients will not need to invest in their own systems, although companies who want to add to their own e-commerce site by offering bill presentment and payments on-line can do so through our Biller Direct service option,” said Mr Pang.

“We are talking to a number of large companies keen to offer their customers more viewing and payment choices. They recognize that this is a long-term investment and is another way to enhance customer loyalty and stay ahead of competition through the provision of a relevant and valued service.

“With Bills Online ™ companies have the potential for more interactive customer relationships through targeted one-to-one online marketing. They can offer their customers significant benefits including storage of billing history, customer meter reading, and the ability to control how and when payments are made.

“Consumers have been paying their bills at Post Office branches for many years, with 28 million people visiting one every week. As the UK’s biggest cash handler, handling #140bn annually, and with a massive 500 million bill payment transactions made via Post Office branches every year, we’re experts at handling bills.

“Our research proves that consumers feel Post Office branches are a trusted and reliable bill payment service provider. Eight out of 10 businesses surveyed consider us to be an excellent choice for this service.

“Bills Online™ is a natural extension of our current bill payment service offering, giving customers the choice of when and where to view and pay their bills – at home, on holiday, or abroad, “24-7”. Bills Online™ offers them a free, convenient, controllable bill payment option – the convenience of direct debit with the control of a cheque.

“Nearly 7 million UK households now have Internet access and this figure is expected to double within two years. We have the technology and are ready now to cater for billers who want to offer their customers the choice to pay their bills online and at their convenience,” said Mr Pang.

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Football Donations

Childcare centers in the Bay Area and in Arlington, Texas are looking to score big in the upcoming NFL season with high-powered offense from the Raiders, 49ers, and Cowboys. Thanks to Providian Financial Corporation and its Providian Cares community giving efforts, childcare centers in those areas will receive donations from the Company when the three teams move the football. Every touchdown by the Raiders and 49ers and every passing yard by the Cowboys will mean dollars from Providian for these childcare centers.

Through “Touchdowns for Tots,” a program Providian Cares successfully introduced last season in partnership with the Oakland Raiders; the Lakeshore Children’s Center in Oakland will receive $500 for every Raider touchdown during regular season play. The program was expanded this year to include the rival 49ers across the Bay — whose every touchdown this year will provide $500 for the Frandelja Enrichment Center in San Francisco. In Arlington, Texas, through a new effort called “Putting Kids Yards Ahead,” Providian Cares will donate $5 to the YWCA Development Center there for every passing yard the Cowboys rack up. A 300-yard passing game, for example, translates to $1,500 for the Arlington-based center. Last year, the program generated $40,000 from Providian for the Harriet Tubman Early Childhood Center in Oakland.

“Given the offensive achievements of these teams, we expect the kids to score big in all three cities,” said Jim Wunderman, senior vice president for Corporate Affairs for Providian. “Each of these teams is capable of exploding offensively. We’ll be rooting hard for touchdowns and long bombs from these teams all year.”

Over the years, Providian Cares has funded more than 800 community programs with a special emphasis on childcare. The touchdown and passing yardage programs conducted jointly with the three NFL teams will generate funds for childcare centers in areas where Providian’s employees live and work.

Throughout the upcoming pro football season, radio broadcasters will acknowledge Providian’s $500 contribution on-air each time the 49ers or Raiders reach the endzone. Dallas Cowboys radio broadcasters will read a 15-second public service spot acknowledging Providian’s contribution through the passing yardage program. Additional public service announcements featuring player-spokesmen Tim Brown of the Raiders, Ray Brown of the 49ers and Tony Banks of the Cowboys — along with parents whose children attend the centers — will also air during the games. Providian will present checks to the centers when the regular season ends in December and player-spokesmen are scheduled to visit with the children at the respective centers.

About Providian Financial

Providian () is part of another winning proposition. The Company was named winner of the 2001 Rochester Institute of Technology/USA Today Quality Cup for excellence in customer service. The San Francisco-based company is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers throughout the United States, and offers credit cards and deposit products in the U.K. and Argentina. Providian Financial has also been named one of America’s Most Admired Companies in a survey by Fortune magazine, one of the nation’s top financial institutions by U.S. Banker magazine, and one of the most technologically innovative companies in the U.S. by Information Week magazine. The company has more than $36 billion in assets under management and nearly 18 million customer accounts.

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ERNEX EMAIL

Ernex Marketing Technologies Inc. launched a new product capability
called ERNEX Instant Email. Ernex’s clients now have the ability to deliver
real-time marketing through email-capable devices, in response to specific
customer transactions at any point-of-sale. This new offering enables
credit card issuers, retailers, restaurateurs and marketers to deliver
real-time marketing and promotional information directly to a customer’s
mobile or desktop device. The real-time automated-delivery of emails can
include points-updates, integrated online/offline campaigns, personalized
coupons or messages, and other promotional offers – to enhance the customer
contact experience. For onsite managers, ERNEX Instant Email improves the
response time of customer-care initiatives, by providing real-time customer
transaction information through email.

STRATEGY

The introduction of ERNEX Instant Email underscores Ernex’s ongoing
commitment to deliver innovative, real-time marketing solutions to the
market. To capitalize on the growing popularity of multi-channel retailing
and wireless technology, Ernex has leveraged its existing robust and
flexible infrastructure to launch this value-added capability for its
clients. There is a need to balance the desire of businesses to maintain
top-of-mind with customers, and the “email-fatigue” that customers receive
from spam-mail. By tying ERNEX Instant Email to transactions based on
customer loyalty or gift card programs, Ernex ensures that only relevant
and targeted messages are delivered to customers. This will increase the
response rates and success of email campaigns.

DETAILS AND HIGHLIGHTS OF INSTANT EMAIL

Utilizing the same rules-engine that Ernex uses to manage its
clients’ customer loyalty or gift card programs, ERNEX Instant Email now
provides businesses with the ability to tailor a message and deliver it to
the email account of a customer – which could be a desktop computer, a
wireless phone or wireless device. Typically, Ernex’s programs interact
with customers at the point-of-sale through promotional coupons, messages
or sweepstakes contests. In a bricks-and-mortar environment, these
real-time promotions are printed directly on the customer’s receipt.
ERNEX Instant Email can also be used by onsite managers. For
instance, store or restaurant managers can utilize ERNEX Instant-Email to
receive critical real-time customer information and close the customer
service loop. Customer transactions over a certain dollar value, customer
transactions from the location’s top 50 customers, and the awarding of
instant sweepstakes prizes, can all trigger these email notifications. The
power of this new delivery mechanism is in the immediacy that a store
manager has in reacting to certain customer information. For example, a
store manager may be notified that one of the most valuable customers at
that location just made a purchase. The manager reacts by coming to the
front counter to personally thank the customer, along with a special gift
basket.

The key differentiation between this product and other email
marketing tools is that the email is delivered as part of the real-time
Ernex transaction. Within a fraction of a second, both the point-of-sale
and the email account of the customer can be updated. Emails can even be
delivered that are customized depending on the product that is purchased by
the customer – for example, the purchaser of an office desk could be
emailed information about what office accessories might go well with the
product, an 800 number to call for questions about the product, and so on.
For more information on ERNEX Instant Email, visit http://www.ernexinc.com/loyalty_programs/ernex_promotional_tools.html.

ABOUT ERNEX MARKETING TECHNOLOGIES

Ernex Marketing Technologies is a provider of innovative real-time
marketing solutions for merchants, credit card and bankcard issuers, and
large membership organizations. Its solutions include loyalty programs,
stored-value gift card programs, and loyalty database hosting services. For
more information, contact Ernex at 877-GO-ERNEX or visit www.ernexinc.com.
Ernex is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.

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Back-to-School Survey

VISA released a survey this week showing the second most important issue among parents of school-age children was financial literacy. Seventy-one percent of parents surveyed said the need for children to master practical money skills prior to graduation was “very important”. VISA used the survey to focus attention on its ‘2001 Back to School’ program which includes online financial literacy curricula for more than 20,000 schools, a resource center for teachers, parents and administrators, financial literacy seminars scheduled for Chicago and San Antonio, and computer donations to high schools across the country. VISA also says its survey showed that parents of students heading to college this fall plan to spend on average, $618 per child on back to school expenses. Parents will spend $218 per student in kindergarten or elementary school, $246 per child attending middle school, and $265 for back to school shopping per high school student.

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TEEN CARD

MasterCard International, a leader in innovation in the payments industry, announced the launch in Latin America of the MasterCard Teen Program, a MasterCard Electronic™ branded prepaid card designed specifically for the youth segment in Latin America. The program offers a fresh variety of new features, each customized to suit the needs and demands of the younger generation (between the age of 10 and 19), along with several options of innovative, brightly-colored card designs for the brand new card shape.

This new generation of prepaid cards was created to provide teens with the ability to exercise their independence and build financial responsibility. Parents can easily monitor their teenagers’ MasterCard Teen account via a user-friendly Internet interface, which allows them to see how much and where their kids are spending.

“As an industry trailblazer, MasterCard is pleased to be the first to provide the youth of Latin America with the power to explore their individuality and learn how to manage their money responsibly,” stated Jean Rozwadowski, President of MasterCard International for Latin America and the Caribbean.

For a teen to establish their own MasterCard Teen account, a parent’s consent must be obtained. The card is linked to the parent’s credit or checking account, which can be debited a fixed amount on a monthly basis, or deposits to the card can be made on an individual basis. Once the account is established, the teenager can receive deposits from other sources as well.

The teen can further personalize their card by down loading multiple new features from the Internet directly onto their card.

The MasterCard Teen Program also supports Internet ID software. With the available Internet ID chip reader connected to the teenager’s computer they will have the ability to access and store information and personalize their smart card with all their favorite sites, logins, and passwords. The Internet ID also allows for one-click access to previously stored websites, and for saving home and e-mail addresses. All the information stored on the chip is protected by a user-defined personal identification number (PIN).

With the launch of MasterCard Teen Program, MasterCard continues a long tradition of leadership in card innovations, including the industry’s first gold card program (1981), the first use of the laser hologram as an antifraud device (1983), the first bankcard with a tamper-resistant signature panel (1989), the world’s first truly global online debit program, Maestro® (1991), the first to implement a virtual private network design, delivering faster response time and lower costs (1996), the world’s first migration from traditional credit cards to multiapplication chip cards using the MULTOS™ operating system, with MYCAL Card Co. of Japan (1999), and the industry’s first to establish a U.S. rule of no liability for the consumer from the unauthorized use of payment cards (2000).

More information will soon be available on the MasterCard website regarding this program, exclusive promotions, and the member financial institutions that will offer this new card in each country.

For images of the MasterCard Teen card as well as additional MasterCard products, please visit the MasterCard website at

Details

Card Email

Ernex Marketing Technologies Inc. launched a new product capability called ERNEX Instant Email. Ernex’s clients now have the ability to deliver real-time marketing through email-capable devices, in response to specific customer transactions at any point-of-sale. This new offering enables credit card issuers, retailers, restaurateurs and marketers to deliver real-time marketing and promotional information directly to a customer’s mobile or desktop device. The real-time automated-delivery of emails can include points-updates, integrated online/offline campaigns, personalized coupons or messages, and other promotional offers – to enhance the customer contact experience. For onsite managers, ERNEX Instant Email improves the response time of customer-care initiatives, by providing real-time customer transaction information through email.

STRATEGY

The introduction of ERNEX Instant Email underscores Ernex’s ongoing commitment to deliver innovative, real-time marketing solutions to the market. To capitalize on the growing popularity of multi-channel retailing and wireless technology, Ernex has leveraged its existing robust and flexible infrastructure to launch this value-added capability for its clients. There is a need to balance the desire of businesses to maintain top-of-mind with customers, and the “email-fatigue” that customers receive from spam-mail. By tying ERNEX Instant Email to transactions based on customer loyalty or gift card programs, Ernex ensures that only relevant and targeted messages are delivered to customers. This will increase the response rates and success of email campaigns.

DETAILS AND HIGHLIGHTS OF INSTANT EMAIL

Utilizing the same rules-engine that Ernex uses to manage its clients’ customer loyalty or gift card programs, ERNEX Instant Email now provides businesses with the ability to tailor a message and deliver it to the email account of a customer – which could be a desktop computer, a wireless phone or wireless device. Typically, Ernex’s programs interact with customers at the point-of-sale through promotional coupons, messages or sweepstakes contests. In a bricks-and-mortar environment, these real-time promotions are printed directly on the customer’s receipt.

ERNEX Instant Email can also be used by onsite managers. For instance, store or restaurant managers can utilize ERNEX Instant-Email to receive critical real-time customer information and close the customer service loop. Customer transactions over a certain dollar value, customer transactions from the location’s top 50 customers, and the awarding of instant sweepstakes prizes, can all trigger these email notifications. The power of this new delivery mechanism is in the immediacy that a store manager has in reacting to certain customer information. For example, a store manager may be notified that one of the most valuable customers at that location just made a purchase. The manager reacts by coming to the front counter to personally thank the customer, along with a special gift basket.

The key differentiation between this product and other email marketing tools is that the email is delivered as part of the real-time Ernex transaction. Within a fraction of a second, both the point-of-sale and the email account of the customer can be updated. Emails can even be delivered that are customized depending on the product that is purchased by the customer – for example, the purchaser of an office desk could be emailed information about what office accessories might go well with the product, an 800 number to call for questions about the product, and so on.

For more information on ERNEX Instant Email, visit [http://www.ernexinc.com/loyalty_programs/ernex_promotional_tools.html][1].

ABOUT ERNEX MARKETING TECHNOLOGIES

Ernex Marketing Technologies is a provider of innovative real-time marketing solutions for merchants, credit card and bankcard issuers, and large membership organizations. Its solutions include loyalty programs, stored-value gift card programs, and loyalty database hosting services. For more information, contact Ernex at 877-GO-ERNEX or visit www.ernexinc.com. Ernex is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.

INTERVIEW CONTACTS:

— Ernex executives are available for interviews on this announcement and/or to provide comment on other electronic marketing solutions; please contact McCoin & Smith Communications LLC for contact information.

— Analyst references are available on request; please contact McCoin & Smith Communications LLC.

— Partners and Customers are available to speak with the media; please contact McCoin & Smith Communications LLC for contact names.

[1]: http://www.ernexinc.com/loyalty_programs/ernex_promotional_tools.html

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