FundsXpress Adoption

FundsXpress Financial Network, Inc. a leading supplier of Internet-based financial services, announced financial institutions using FundsXpress Internet Banking experienced over 300% increase in user adoption over the past six months. This increase was further validated by a 107% increase in active bill pay users and a 103% increase in number of bills processed. The increase in end-user adoption for banks and credit unions validates the successful model used by FundsXpress to offer a product valued by the end user and to partner closely with the financial institution. This partnership involves teaming with the financial institution to support their marketing strategies, increase the number of account holders banking online, create opportunities to cross-sell and to build long-lasting relationships with the institution.

The record-level end-user adoption rates indicate that FundsXpress has created a successful model in partnering with their financial institution customers. FundsXpress continues to gain new financial institution clients while at the same time increasing marketing, compliance and customer care support to their current financial institution customers.

“Our success is unmistakably dependent upon the success of our financial institution customers,” said Chris Miller, vice president of sales and marketing for FundsXpress. “We take our partnerships with these institutions seriously in that we are doing everything possible to help get their account holders online. We offer training, one-to-one marketing, compliance support – – whatever helps the financial institution speak to their customers. To see the validation of the technology of our product coupled with our customized marketing programs increasing Internet adoption by 300% is extremely satisfying.”

Employee training, incentives, and ongoing marketing support are critical components of partnering with the financial institution to increase the number of users banking online. Innovative marketing support, award-winning security and 24/7 customer care are all available to the financial institution.

“FundsXpress has operated as an invaluable partner in helping us get our account holders online and staying online,” said Colleen Butler, vice president of marketing for Elk Horn Bank & Trust. “The strong marketing support we continue to receive has been critical in getting our users to sign up for Internet Banking. Their competitive pricing structure encourages us to gain new users. The fact that it is an easy to use product, however, is what has convinced our account holders to stay online and actively use our online services.”

Founded in 1997, FundsXpress is building upon current success and momentum to develop new Internet-based products. In addition to Internet banking, bill payment, cash management and online brokerage products, FundsXpress provides new online shopping choices through its portal with a secure digital wallet issued by the financial institution.

About FundsXpress

FundsXpress, Inc., together with FundsXpress Financial Network, Inc. and its other subsidiaries headquartered in Austin, Texas, offers a wide range of secure, reliable and convenient Internet-based financial services and products including the FundsXpress Financial Portal, secure Internet banking, online brokerage and lending. For more information, please visit the company at [][1].

FundsXpress and the FundsXpress Logo are registered trademarks of FundsXpress, Inc. Portana and FXPortal are also trademarks of FundsXpress, Inc. All other company and product names may be registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies/holders and are hereby recognized.



Trend View

Experian has launched a productivity enhancement tool designed to help credit card issuers retain and attract profitable cardholders by analyzing credit card usage patterns of their current and prospective customers. ‘Trend View’ enables card issuers to identify “gamers,” those consumers who quickly move from card to card or don’t fully use their open cards. Experian has developed three proprietary algorithms that identify ‘Rate Surfer’, ‘Revolver’ and ‘Transactor’ behavior. Eight ‘Rate Surfer’ and 24 ‘Revolver/Transactor’ attributes can be delivered as part of account review or acquisition activities. ‘Trend View’ is based on data stored directly on Experian’s ‘File One’ database that is fully compliant with FCRA. Experian matches monthly balances and credit limits and provides monthly updates that reflect up to 24 months of credit card balance history at the trade account level.


NOVA 1Q/01

NOVA Corporation reported strong business and financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001.

NOVA announced total revenue for the quarter of $370.1 million, in line with the Company’s expectations and flat versus first quarter 2000. Core volume grew 10.5% in the first quarter ended March 31, 2001 versus the same period in 2000.

The Company also reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $51.5 million. Adjusted cash earnings per share (before amortization of goodwill and acquired merchant portfolios) were $0.39 compared to $0.38 in the first quarter of 2000. Reported earnings per share were $0.28 in the first quarter 2001 versus $0.27 in the first quarter of 2000.

NOVA Chairman and CEO, Edward Grzedzinski, commented on the Company’s performance, “We continue to execute across all fronts. We have utilized the strong cash flow characteristics of our business to reduce debt and improve our balance sheet. In the first quarter, we retired nearly $35 million in debt and we will continue to strategically use our cash to create a more flexible entity that is capable of capitalizing on the opportunities in front of us.”

NOVA reported strong contributions from all of its distribution channels in the first quarter. New account signings reached more than 30,400 approved accounts, representing a 14.2% increase versus first quarter 2000. The first quarter 2001 signings are projected to generate approximately $3.6 billion in annualized processed volume. NOVA also announced an increase in Internet volume of 294% versus the same period last year.

Mr. Grzedzinski continued, “NOVA will leverage the diversity and performance of our customer base as well as our other core assets and competitive advantages to scale our technology and expand our products and services in an effort to create new market opportunities. We recognize that as our merchants grow, NOVA grows. Therefore, we are actively pursuing opportunities that will expand the depth and breadth of our products and services to meet the unique needs of our base of small to mid-size business customers. In so doing, we can help them be more successful, in turn making NOVA more successful.”

Mr. Grzedzinski concluded, “We are positive about our outlook for the remainder of 2001 and beyond. The Company remains poised to deliver solid financial and business growth and to produce strong, long-term shareholder returns.”

First Quarter 2001 Highlights

— Debt reduction. The cash characteristics and performance of NOVA’s business allowed the Company to reduce debt by $34.5 million in the first quarter of 2001. Total debt was reduced to $223.0 million from $257.5 million.

— EuroConex Technologies Limited. NOVA continues to advance its global strategy with Euroconex’s move into its new state of the art facility located in Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland. EuroConex has substantially completed planned modifications to its technology platform and expects that the new platform should be fully operational and multi-currency proficient in June 2001.

— NOVA added several enhancements to its interactive customer support website, in the first quarter 2001, to increase user penetration and usage. The site is a cost-effective vehicle for providing merchants with a single-source connection to critical information that they need to manage their business on a day-to-day basis. With expanded acceptance of as its merchants’ primary source for their account information, NOVA anticipates significant cost savings within its Customer Support infrastructure.

About NOVA Corporation

NOVA Corporation headquartered in Atlanta, GA., manages and transports payment and other business information on behalf of retailers, community banks and regional financial institutions. NOVA specializes in providing integrated credit and debit card payment processing services, related software application products and value-added services to more than 500,000 merchant locations in the U.S. NOVA merchant customers typically include small-to medium-sized merchants requiring a full spectrum of processing services.

For complete details on NOVA’s 1Q/01 results visit CardData ([][1])



Smart Loyalty Platform

Axiomatique International, Maxxus International, SoftCARD Systems and Welcome Real-time announced an agreement to adopt a common interoperable smart transaction platform. Smart transactions are traditional credit or debit card transactions enhanced with chip based revenue boosting services such as loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, vouchers, gift certificates, tickets and cash back.

In the same way that interoperability is achieved via payment acceptance symbols (such as Visa or MasterCard) and ATM acceptance symbols (such as Plus or Cirrus), interoperability for chip based value added transactions is achieved if card issuers use a common smart card data and protocol format. Axiomatique International, Maxxus International, SoftCARD Systems and Welcome Real-time will adapt their loyalty and couponing applications to function with the same XLSmart card applet and will promote XLSmart as the preferred acceptance symbol for smart transactions. The companies will continue to offer competing software for terminals and other card reader devices, and competing technical and marketing services.

Tai-Toon Lim, President and CEO of Axiomatique International said: Thanks to this initiative, retailers, card issuers and loyalty operators will be able to design their rewards programs without worrying about the underlying technology and without being locked into specific suppliers systems.

Barbara Anderson, President and CEO of Maxxus International said: When merchants upgrade their point of sale equipment to accept smart cards, they want to be certain that the new equipment will work with cards issued by many different banks, not only for payment but also for their loyalty and frequent buyer programs. Interoperability provides that assurance.

Ken Powell, President and CEO of SoftCARD Systems said: This initiative is key to delivering the smart card s promise of greater convenience. Customers can use their smart cards for multiple applications and other value added services at a large number of retail establishments .

Aneace Haddad, President and CEO of Welcome Real-time said: Interoperability between our companies systems will significantly reduce risks for our customers and make it easier for card issuers and merchants to move forward, expanding the market for all participants.

The XLSmart applet allows card issuers to issue multi-application smart cards without worrying about which application providers will use them later. Likewise, merchants will be able to run their programs on XLSmart cards issued by many different card issuers. The XLSmart card applet provides services enabling multiple application providers to each have the ability to manage easily and securely their own data in the card s memory. The applet provides a standardized way to securely store the application providers data in a dedicated part of the card s memory. Each application provider is free to define the format of his data, so providers may develop and offer very different features and functions.

The companies will establish an interoperability committee consisting of representatives of each company as well as users such as card issuers, merchants and loyalty operators. The interoperability committee will provide a forum for definition of issues such as shared data format standards, applet enhancements, etc.

About Axiomatique International

Axiomatique s ([][1]) loyalty management system powers virtually all of the multi-function smart card programs deployed in Asia. Axiomatique s system is used with smart cards issued by banks, such as Standard Chartered, Chase Manhattan, Sumitomo Credit Services and others, in addition to cards issued by a variety of retail consortiums and loyalty operators. Axiomatique International, headquartered in Singapore, was founded in 1997.

About Maxxus International

Maxxus International s ([][2]) smart card applications have been installed in over 1,500 resorts, amusement parks, malls and retail outlets across the United States. The Company provides solutions for cash replacement, ticketing, admissions, gift certificates, loyalty and frequent buyer programs. Maxxus International is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, where it has provided a variety of card-related services since 1995.

About SoftCARD Systems

SoftCARD Systems, Inc. was established to revolutionize the electronic coupon and promotion industry. The company is partially backed by News America Marketing, a division of News Corporation. SoftCARD has developed numerous coupon and promotion distribution techniques including distribution by the Rewards Machine, over the Internet into a consumer’s home or retail outlet, through kiosks, and via other innovative distribution means. For more information on SoftCARD Systems, please visit [][3].

About Welcome Real-time

Welcome Real-time s ([][4]) smart transaction platform enhances payment transactions with revenue boosting services such as instantly awarded loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, vouchers, tickets, cash back & all in a single convenient payment process. The Company’s patents provide broad protection in Europe, North America and Asia. Over 17 patent applications cover the ability to dynamically manage services relating to entries, visits or cumulative spending at designated merchants, the ability to add and redeem e-coupons from a smart card, or the use of mobile phones and hand held devices to perform smart transactions. Welcome Real-time is headquartered in Aix-en-Provence, France, with offices in Philadelphia.



USPS Voyager

U.S. Bank Corporate Payment Systems said this morning it has implemented a fleet card program for the U.S. Postal Service. The cards are issued by U.S. Bank’s Voyager Fleet Systems subsidiary. USPS issued U.S. Bank a ‘Task Order’ for fleet cards in Jan 2000 under the GSA ‘SmartPay Program’. During the next twelve months, more than 223,000 charge cards were issued for the Postal Service fleet of more than 200,000 vehicles. The fleet cards can be used to purchase fuels and lubricants at more than 158,000 locations and services from some 29,000 merchants in all 50 states, and in territories and nations worldwide. Virtually all major oil companies and resellers accept Voyager cards. Fleet cards are issued to authorized individuals and/or to specific vehicles.


PaySys Deal

As first reported in March by CardFlash, First Data has purchased PaySys International. PaySys was founded in 1981, has more than 500 employees, and offices in England, Ireland, Singapore, China, Costa Rica and Australia. Company products include ‘VisionPLUS’, ‘CardPac’, ‘VISION21’, and its ‘Commercial Payment System’. PaySys systems process more than 180 million accounts in over 35 countries and on 6 continents. FDC says the acquisition will provide First Data a new product offering primarily in the international marketplace for bankcard, retail, private label and acquiring processing systems. The PaySys deal was struck on March 17, when Intelligent Systems Corporation confirmed that it, along with other major shareholders, had entered into a definitive agreement to sell all of the outstanding stock of PaySys to FDC. The overall transaction was projected to involve about $60 million in cash. Also under terms of the deal, PaySys spun off two early stage companies that will continue to design, develop and market the proprietary ‘dBB’ operating platform and application software that is under development by PaySys. (CF Library 3/21/01)


Metris CIO

Metris Companies Inc. announced the appointment of Dan Piteleski as senior vice president, chief information officer. Piteleski will be instrumental in expanding the company’s existing IT infrastructure.

“We are extremely pleased to have such a seasoned industry professional join the Metris executive team,” said Metris Chairman and CEO Ronald N. Zebeck. “Dan’s 20 years of technical operations and management experience make him exceptionally qualified to lead our information technology responsibilities.” Piteleski most recently served as vice president and chief information officer at H.B. Fuller Company, a worldwide manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals headquartered in St. Paul, Minn. He served in this capacity for six years.

Prior to H.B. Fuller, Piteleski served as vice president, information systems at Zenith Data Systems for two and a half years. Before Zenith, he was manager, information systems & technology at Apple Computer for four years. He has also worked in information systems at Equitable Resources Energy Company, Inc., and American Standard.

Piteleski holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting/finance from West Virginia University and a master’s in management information systems from the University of Dallas.

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and enhancement services. The company was recognized in September 2000 as one of “America’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies” by Fortune magazine. Based in Minnetonka, Minn., Metris also has operations in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Champaign, Ill.; White Marsh, Md.; and Tulsa, Okla. Metris employs approximately 4,200 people. Visit Metris on the Internet at [][1].



HBC Rewards VISA

The competition among reward cards in Canada will heat up tomorrow with the unveiling of the ‘CIBC HBC Rewards VISA’. The launch of the new co-branded card will coincide with the launch of Hudson’s Bay Company’s new loyalty rewards program, ‘HBC Rewards’. The new credit card program is an expansion of the current ‘CIBC Club Z VISA’. Starting Wednesday, the 500,000 ‘Club Z’ cards-in-force will become ‘CIBC HBC Rewards VISAs’. Under the new program, cardholders earn fifteen points for every dollar spent on the card with a 100% point bonus on all purchases made at any of the Hudson’s Bay Company family of stores. Cardholders also receive up to 20% off the regular number of ‘HBC Rewards’ points required for reward redemption in the catalogue. The ‘Zellers Club Z’ program was launched in 1986 and the ‘CIBC Club Z VISA’card was introduced in 1995. HBC says that upon launch of the new ‘HBC Rewards’ program it will have 7.35 million members automatically enrolled through the existing 6.5 million ‘Club Z’ members and the initial enrollment of 850,000 ‘Bay’ customers.


BofA Internet Exec

Bank of America announced that John Rosenfeld, a former global e-business leader with General Electric, will join the bank as Consumer e-Commerce executive. In this position, he will be responsible for executing the company’s growth strategy for meeting consumer financial needs through digital delivery channels

His immediate priorities will center on continuing to expand the electronic reach of the bank, building out customer self-service applications and adding new online services that will help broaden and deepen customer relationships. Bank of America is the nation’s leading provider of online financial services, with more than 3.2 million online banking customers.

Rosenfeld joins the company from General Electric Aircraft Engines, where he was responsible for building an e-commerce infrastructure that today does more than $1 billion worth of aircraft business through the Internet. This included launching a customer Web center and establishing direct procurement links between GE and key customers.

“John is joining Bank of America at a time when digital technology is expanding our opportunities to enhance the customer experience with greater speed, convenience and self-service capabilities,” said Amy Brinkley, Consumer Products executive. “He’s going to help us leverage the tremendous strengths of our franchise to bring customers the choices they want and need through the Internet.”

James D. Dixon, executive, said that Rosenfeld would bring a new perspective that will help Bank of America as it aggressively develops its e-commerce capabilities. “John’s experience at GE and other companies shows that he understands that the Internet is more than just another delivery channel – it’s a way to offer customers more value, more access and better choices,” Dixon said. “We are eager to get him on board.”

In addition to his experience at GE, Rosenfeld’s career includes leadership of e-commerce and Internet operations at Lexmark International and seven years as a Special Forces captain in the United States Army. He will locate to Charlotte, N.C., and begins his Bank of America assignment April 30.

About Bank of America

One of the world’s leading financial services companies, Bank of America is committed to making banking work for customers like it never has before. Through innovative technologies and the ingenuity of its people, Bank of America provides individuals, small businesses and commercial, corporate and institutional clients across the United States and around the world new and better ways to manage their financial lives. The company enables customers to do their banking and investing whenever, wherever and however they choose through the nation’s largest financial services network, including approximately 4,400 domestic offices and 13,000 ATMs, as well as 38 international offices, a telephone banking network that handles over a half billion calls a year and an Internet Web site that provides online access for over 3 million customers, more than any other bank. Bank of America stock (ticker: BAC) is listed on the New York, Pacific and London stock exchanges.


MerchantOnline CEO

MerchantOnline, a provider of secure transaction networks and devices for credit cards and debit cards, announced a restructuring of its senior management. The company appointed former Visa U.S.A. Inc. senior vice president James Degracia as its Chief Executive Officer and President. While at Visa, Degracia was responsible for all e-commerce activities in the US Region.

Degracia joined MerchantOnline’s board as a director last year. Robert Hausman, formerly the MerchantOnline Chief Administrative Officer is now Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Hausman’s previous position was one of several executive positions eliminated. Founder Tarek Kirschen resigned as Chairman, CEO, President and Director.

Degracia was a senior vice president with Visa U.S.A. Inc. in 1998-1999 where he initially developed smart card strategies and programs before becoming responsible for all e-commerce activities. In the last year, Degracia consulted for several young technology companies. Most recently, he developed the marketing and business integration capabilities for UNX, Inc., an online broker/dealer that is a market leader in advanced securities trading capabilities for institutional traders. Prior to joining Visa, Degracia was vice president and technology leader for American Express where he worked with businesses to find applications for secure e-commerce technology and multi-application smart cards. Degracia was vice president and director in various marketing roles with Household Credit Services in Salinas, California, from 1990 to 1996, and he was product manager with Discover Card Services in Riverwoods, Illinois from 1987 to 1990. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.


Founded in December 1997, MerchantOnline provides a secure transaction network that enables business and consumers to use one payment system for both their real world and virtual world needs utilizing credit card, ATM/debit cards and other payment programs. Except for historical matters, the matters in this press release are forward-looking statements and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements reflect assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties which might affect the Company’s business and prospects and cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties, including those risks and uncertainties detailed in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-QSB for the quarter ended January 31, 2001 filed with the SEC.


Translucent Cards

The use of translucent credit cards has spread beyond the USA. France’s Banque Directe introduced Friday the translucent ‘VISA Carte Bleue’ smart card to be marketed as the ‘Directe Card’. One of the cards unique features is the option for cardholders to set a monthly spending limit for online purchases. Once the limit has been reached the cardholder is notified by email. The ‘Directe Card’ carries a 39 Euro annual fee. The bank describes the card as “very Zen”. Eighteen months ago, American Express introduced the first translucent smart card with the launch the ‘Blue’ smart card. Last July, MBNA introduced its first translucent credit card, the ‘Quantum VISA/MasterCard’ featuring a credit line up to $1 million. St. Charles, IL-based Perfect Plastic Printing produces the translucent ‘Quantum’ card. In September 2000, Providian introduced a translucent card with the introduction of the first ‘smart VISA’ cards in the USA. The Providian card is called the ‘Clear smart VISA’. In October, Schlumberger Test & Transactions unveiled its new transparent smart card called: ‘Luxea’. (CF Library 6/16/00; 7/7/00; 10/26/00)