ValueStar Program

ValueStar Corporation, a leading rating organization of local service companies and the First National Bank Omaha announced the launch of the ValueStar Customer-Rated program in the San Francisco Bay Area. This program brings ValueStar’s card holder benefits which includes knowledge, power and assurance to FNBO’s credit card holders. FNBO ranks as one of the nation’s top 15 credit card issuers.

“FNBO is the first credit card issuer to offer its customers the advantage of ValueStar Benefits,” stated Jim Stein, CEO and founder of ValueStar Corporation. “They took a strong lead by selecting ValueStar as a partner, to provide their credit card customers with the knowledge, power, and assurance associated with every ValueStar transaction.”

“ValueStar Cardholder Benefits provide a compelling local solution for the highly competitive credit card environment,” states George Schmelzel, Vice President of Marketing, at First National Bank Omaha. “We expect ValueStar Benefits will provide our customers with greater assurance to use their FNBO credit card for local service purchases while making it easier to select among highly qualified local businesses. ValueStar Benefits will be used by FNBO to provide increased benefits to our cardholders and to attract new cardholders.”

ValueStar ratings are divided into two brands: ValueStar Customer-Rated companies pass a license, legal and financial verification, and score 70% or higher in customer satisfaction. ValueStar Customer-Rated Gold businesses meet the same criteria plus have a score of 85% or higher customer satisfaction. Companies that earn ValueStar Customer-Rated are invited to participate in the ValueStar Benefits program.

The ValueStar Customer-Rated Program allows consumers enrolled in the ValueStar Benefits program to automatically rate their satisfaction with each local service purchased offline from a ValueStar Customer-Rated company. To accomplish this, ValueStar’s transaction engine matches qualifying purchases and automatically presents an online or offline survey to consumers that, in turn, provides an update to each company’s rating score in real-time. FNBO credit card holders that purchase from and rate local ValueStar Customer-Rated companies will receive the following ValueStar Benefits:

— Knowledge: the best ratings to find the best local businesses

— Power: the ability to publicly rate companies which makes them accountable for their performance

— Assurance: ValueStar complaint resolution services and a money-back guarantee of up to $500

— Something extra: ValueStar Rating Points redeemable for the most popular mileage programs, products and services

About ValueStar

ValueStar(R) Corporation (OTCBB:VLST) is both a pioneer and a leading provider of customer satisfaction ratings of local service companies. Founded in 1992, ValueStar’s mission is to improve the local marketplace by providing knowledge, power and assurance. To accomplish this mission, ValueStar is expanding its branded ratings to the six million local service companies in America by introducing multi-tiered rating designations and adding additional brand content. It has developed the ValueStar Customer-Rated program which enables, matches, rates and rewards local service transactions both online and offline. It currently operates the ValueStar Customer-Rated Program in San Francisco; Los Angeles; Seattle; Chicago; Dallas; Philadelphia; Washington D.C. and Atlanta. Based in Oakland, CA, ValueStar has partnerships or alliances with First Data Corp., First National Bank Omaha, Netcentives, Experian, BellSouth,, Info USA,, and e-Attorney. Key investors include eCompanies, Rustic Canyon Ventures, Seacoast Capital and Hull Capital. For more information, visit ValueStar at [][1].

About FNBO

First National of Nebraska is a multi state, multi bank holding company headquartered in the heart of downtown Omaha, Nebraska. With more than $9 billion in assets and over 6,000 employees, First National of Nebraska rates as the third largest bank holding company headquartered from Omaha west. Established in 1863, First National of Nebraska serves over 6.6 million customers in all 50 states, with over 75 banking locations in Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, South Dakota, and Texas. First National prides itself as one of the top five in-house merchant processors in the United States, a top 15 VISA and MasterCard issuer, a top ten VISA and MasterCard processor, a top 20 processor of automated clearing house transactions and a strong regional player in cash management services. First National is growing fast and growing profitably — reaching into national and international financial markets.




Smart card readers attached to PCs are a thing of the past as Schlumberger Test & Transactions unveiled its ‘e-gate’ smart card technology. ‘e-gate’ enables a smart card to simply plug into the standard USB port supplied on today’s PCs. Capable of working with any smart card operating system, including Java, Cryptoflex and Windows, the e-gate technology card uses a special chip, which integrates the USB interface electronics. This enables it to connect directly with the serial bus using a standard connector, eliminating the need for a card reader and a separate power supply, as well as driver software installation and set-up. ‘e-gate’ is available in two formats: standard ISO and SIM-style. The ISO format card can be used as a conventional card in the full range of smart card terminals supporting payment functions.


Royal AAdvantage

Royal Bank of Canada has rolled out its second co-branded airline card this month. Yesterday Royal and American Airlines announced they will roll out the ‘Royal Bank AADVANTAGE VISA Gold’ card this Friday. The co-branded card offers one mile for every Canadian dollar spent. Cardholders also earn double miles through December for American Airline purchases. The program offers a 2,500 bonus miles as a sign up incentive. The card carries a $140 annual fee and a 20.5% APR. American Airlines and ‘AADVANTAGE’ already participate in the ‘Royal Bank Avion VISA Gold Rewards Program’. As a result, ‘AADVANTAGE’ members can convert their ‘Avion’ points to ‘AADVANTAGE’ miles at a 1:1 ratio. Royal introduced its British Airways co-branded ‘Platinum VISA’ card last week. (CF Library 5/10/01)


Foil Card

The problem of peeling foil cards has ended as Giesecke & Devrient announced the launch of a new manufacturing process. G&D unwrapped the ‘Foil Card’ yesterday, offering card issuers the choice of custom silver/gold Holographics, laser refractive or rainbow pattern card graphics. The new card is a composite card using a proprietary process. The foil effect can be applied to the front or the reverse of the card. The cards also exceed ISO specs to avoid the risk of delamination. Until now, most foil type cards begin to separate within twelve months.


Access 32K Card

Schlumberger Test & Transactions, a business segment of Schlumberger Limited, introduced a new generation of its industry leading Cyberflex Access JavaCard for advanced IT security applications. With 32K memory, and compliant with major open standards, Cyberflex Access 32K offers an exceptionally versatile platform, capable of delivering the spectrum of secure physical and logical access applications. A full software development kit speeds time-to-market for organizations keen to exploit the state-of-the-art capabilities of these new cards.

Personal, portable and exceptionally secure, the smart card is the ideal ID device. The same card can, for example, provide physical ID, automatically control that individual’s access to specific parts of a building, as well as simplify logging on to the corporate network and ensure the security of sensitive transactions over public or private networks. Governments and corporations worldwide have been quick to identify the advantages of a single secure access card, and Cyberflex Access 32K is designed to maximize their opportunities.

It is compatible with Windows(TM) 98, Me, NT4 and 2000 operating systems and the software developer’s kit, SDK 4.0, cuts implementation time scales to maximize return on investment. Java applet development facilities support the delivery of multiple additional applications, allowing organizations to exploit the card’s generous memory capacity with further value-added services such as a campus e-purse. It enables easy integration with popular PC applications including Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator and Microsoft Outlook. On-board cryptographic and digital signature generation features, including RSA, DES, TDES algorithms, are ready to integrate within security programs, such as Entrust PKI.

“Our customers are keenly aware of the advantages of open platform Java smart cards, and they naturally want to deliver those benefits to their internal markets as quickly as possible,” said Paul Beverly, vice president of Schlumberger Smart Cards in North America. “We’re giving them a powerful and versatile platform, plus the means to deliver integrated solutions, fast. It’s an unbeatable combination.”

The launch of the new generation cards comes as governments and corporations worldwide plan the roll out of major smart access programs. The US Department of Defense, for example, is planning a massive initial deployment of 600,000 Cyberflex Access cards for physical and logical access control. Cyberflex Access 32K conforms to the latest open standards. It is Java 2.1.1 certified and complies with Open Platform 2.0.1. Cyberflex Access has retail export classification from the U.S. Bureau of Export Administration, and the cards can be exported to developers worldwide, except for certain restricted countries. Online user support can be found at [][1].

About Schlumberger

Schlumberger Test & Transactions provides consulting, integration and products for smart card-based transactions; IP (Internet Protocol) network, security and wireless services; and testing and measurement of semiconductor devices. With 2000 revenue of $1.4 billion and over 8,000 employees in more than 40 countries, it is a business segment of Schlumberger Limited (NYSE: SLB), a global technology services company with 2000 revenue of $9.6 billion. More information is available at [][2].



Yahoo! Gift Card

WildCard Systems announced it has been chosen by Yahoo! as an e-payment provider for the Yahoo! Shopping Gift Card, a stored-value gift card that enables consumers to make purchases from the nearly 10,000 stores available on Yahoo! Shopping ([][1]), and anywhere Visa is accepted online. The Yahoo! Shopping Gift Card is a great gift idea that offers consumers a convenient form of online payment, and also can be given to people as a single-use credit card. WildCard Systems, an e-payments company, serves as the issuing processor and hosts the Internet applications.

“We are proud to be selected by Yahoo! Shopping for this initiative,” said Larry Park, CEO and President of WildCard Systems. “WildCard’s turnkey value card solution enables people who use Yahoo! Shopping to conveniently purchase gifts from thousands of merchants, including trusted, brand name retailers.”

Available today, the Yahoo! Shopping Gift Card allows users to pre-load a dollar amount on a Yahoo!-branded stored-value card. The Yahoo! Shopping Gift Card works at all of the merchants on Yahoo! Shopping, taking the guesswork out of gift giving and offering shoppers a convenient gift option. Cardholders can research, compare and buy almost anything from more than 20 retail categories on Yahoo! Shopping, giving recipients a wide choice of merchants and a large selection of products.

“One of our goals is to help consumers choose the perfect gift for any occasion, and the Yahoo! Shopping Gift Card helps us achieve that goal, as well as offer people who do not have credit cards a convenient way to shop online,” said Jennifer Dulski, brand manager for Yahoo! Shopping. “We are pleased to work with WildCard because they offer a high-quality, scalable solution that works at all of our retailers on Yahoo! Shopping.”

“Consumers have come to expect innovation and versatility in payment options from Visa, and we are committed to meeting those needs by introducing new products, such as the Yahoo! Shopping Gift Card,” said Steve Diamond, Vice President, Stored-value Products, Visa U.S.A. “E-merchants appreciate flexibility in offering consumers many ways to pay, and Visa is happy to provide commerce leaders like Yahoo! some of the best payment options available to meet the needs of consumers.”

About Yahoo! Shopping

Yahoo! Shopping ([][2]) is the only place consumers need to go to find, compare and buy almost anything online. Consumers can find the popular brand-name retailers and buying information they want, as well as millions of products from thousands of merchants in more than 20 retail categories. Yahoo! Shopping also has convenient features, such as Yahoo! Wallet and Express Checkout, that make online shopping fast and easy. Yahoo! Wallet is the most widely accepted online wallet, currently accepted by more than 10,000 merchants. Yahoo! Shopping is part of Yahoo!’s comprehensive suite of commerce services, which also includes Yahoo! Auctions, Yahoo! Travel and Yahoo! Store. During the first three months of 2001, Yahoo! directly enabled more than $1.4 billion of transactions on its commerce platform.

About WildCard Systems

WildCard Systems is an e-payments company that is a technology leader for electronic stored-value accounts and related Web-based software. Stored-value (prepaid) type products, particularly those designed to make purchases on the Internet, represent one of the biggest untapped markets for consumer payments. WildCard’s secure e-transaction platform is supported by a full range of services to deliver a complete host-based stored-value solution for a wide range of vertical markets. The company has been selected by Visa, USA as a Preferred Processor for stored-value payment systems. WildCard’s clients include leaders in each of its vertical markets and some of the top financial institutions in the country. Founded in 1997, WildCard Systems is a privately held, venture capital backed company. The company is headquartered in Sunrise, Fla. with offices in Silicon Valley, Orlando and Atlanta. For more information, visit [][3].



GetSmart VISA

Providian said yesterday it has merged its e-commerce products and services under its GetSmart unit and has launched a GetSmart-branded VISA smart card. Providian acquired, an online loan marketplace, in February 1999 for $33 million cash and has since operated the Web site as a stand-alone entity under its e-commerce division. Providian says it has also expanded the features of GetSmart to include an account aggregation feature called ‘Daily View’ and an online bill payment service called ‘Bill Pay Online’. GetSmart’s core functionality resides in its ‘SmartMatch’ technology, which matches borrowers with qualified lenders whose product offerings meet their specific needs. The new ‘GetSmart smart VISA’ card is being offered in three levels: ‘Classic’, ‘Gold’, and ‘Platinum’. The ‘Platinum GetSmart VISA’ offers a 3-month 0% intro rate, followed by a prime +1.99% APR. The ‘Gold GetSmart VISA’ offers a 2-month 0% APR with a go-to rate of prime +6.99%. The ‘Classic GetSmart VISA’ carries a prime +12.49% rate after a two-month 0% intro APR. All three versions have no annual fee. An optional rewards program is available for $48 per year. The ‘Bill Pay Online’ service offers payment of up to 15 bills per month for $6.95 a month. (CF Library 2/19/99; 5/19/99; 12/17/99)


New Freedom Terminals

MIST Inc., a global leader in wireless transaction technology, Monday announced two additions to its current Freedom family line of wireless transaction terminals, the MIST Freedom III and the MIST Freedom SPD. The MIST Freedom SPD is an EMV compliant, smart-card enabled secure pin entry device that interfaces with MIST’s Freedom terminals as well as PCs and electronic cash registers to support credit and debit card transactions. The MIST Freedom SPD also hosts additional security features, including anti-tampering and optional privacy shields, to reduce the opportunity for fraud during data transactions.

MIST’s Freedom III terminal state-of-the-art design succeeds conventional desktop terminals, offering the convenience of wireless capabilities. The terminals feature large, backlit screens that allow for value-added functions such as on-screen advertising, e-coupons, e-commerce, e-mail and electronic statements. Freedom III also supports debit, credit and smart-card enabled transactions.

“The pace at which the wireless POS industry is changing lays a significant burden on the engineering departments to develop new software and hardware capable of meeting sophisticated demands,” said Charles E. Lee, MIST chief executive officer and president.

“The launch of these two new products completes an important deployment objective for the Freedom family in the year 2001. “The range of capabilities offered by the Freedom II, Freedom III, and Freedom SPD and our gateway services, FreedomGate(TM), will provide our clients with services currently unparalleled in the industry. We are proud our technology will meet the needs of our clients and, in many ways, surpass their expectations.”

Both the MIST Freedom SPD and MIST Freedom III are compatible with MIST’s new gateway technology known as FreedomGate(TM). FreedomGate, the multiple-transaction processing facilitator through which wireless transactions are completed, provides users with remote loading of software. FreedomGate also provides time and attendance, e-commerce and messaging value-added services.

About MIST Inc.

MIST Inc., a leading global provider of wireless transaction-enabling technologies, designs, manufactures and distributes wireless and wired Point-of-Sale (POS) solutions. The “MIST Freedom” family of wireless transaction terminals was developed to complement its range of existing products. The MIST FreedomGate(TM) provides gateway services with value-added options such as messaging, time and attendance, e-commerce and advertising. With facilities in Canada, the United States and Japan, MIST’s clients include North American and international banks, financial institutions, credit and debit card processors, as well as retail, hotel, restaurant, healthcare and loyalty customers. For more information, visit [][1].



RPM Money Orders

InnoVentry Corp., the nation’s leading provider of automated cash management services, announced that it now can issue money orders through its RPM automated financial kiosks. Money orders, which are typically used as an alternative to personal checks, can be obtained while a customer is cashing a check at an RPM, during a single session. The company also plans to accept cash bills at its kiosks, for direct purchase of money orders and other financial services, by this September. InnoVentry, founded in 1998, is backed by strategic partners that include Capital One Financial and Wells Fargo & Co.. There are currently more than 1100 RPM kiosks located in high-traffic national retail stores, including Albertson’s, Circle K, Kmart, Kroger and Wal-Mart. To date, the RPM kiosks have offered automated check cashing and ATM services. With the availability of money orders, and projects underway to introduce wire transfer and other services later this year, the kiosks will deliver a full suite of cash management services in convenient retail locations. Through the use of biometric face recognition technology, consumers can be quickly enrolled in the RPM(TM) Network during their first transaction, and can use any of the company’s machines nationwide without needing a card or PIN number.

“We are building on our solid foundation of automated check cashing customers, to offer a full range of financial solutions for the millions of working Americans who do not regularly use traditional bank accounts,” said Frank Petro, chairman and CEO. “For these consumers, we deliver one-stop financial shopping in a convenient, 24-hour retail environment. For our retail partners, we attract new customers to stores, provide a new source of revenues and, in many cases, improve their bottom line by removing the risk and costs associated with handling these services manually at a customer service counter. And for InnoVentry, money orders and other new financial products represent new sources of revenue as our network continues to expand.”

About InnoVentry

Backed by strategic partners that include Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF) and Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC), InnoVentry Corp. ([][1]) is the creator of the RPM (TM) Network of automated financial kiosks, which allows consumers to cash checks, purchase money orders and perform other financial functions. A privately held company based in San Francisco, InnoVentry has enrolled more than 1 million customers and cashed more than $1.5 billion worth of checks.