Espanol Aspire

CompuCredit Corporation recently introduced two Spanish-language Internet Web sites, [][1] and [][2] to help market its Aspire Visa credit cards to one of the fastest growing demographic segments in the United States. At [][3], any visitor to the site can learn more about the benefits of the Aspire Visa credit cards as well as complete and submit an on-line application for consideration. [][4] is designed to be a response channel for consumers responding to a pre-qualified direct mail or email offer for an Aspire Visa card.

“These two web sites are just one more step in our continuing success in reaching and serving the financial needs of this important, rapidly growing market segment,” said Michelle Pujol, Senior Marketing Manager for Interactive Marketing. “Currently approximately 12 percent of our customer base is of Hispanic origin and approximately 10 percent of our new accounts have requested card fulfillment in Spanish.”

The new Web sites complement CompuCredit’s existing initiatives for reaching the Hispanic market, from a Spanish solicitation or application to card fulfillment and account statements to 24-hour Spanish telephone customer service.

“People appreciate the opportunity to conduct their personal financial business in their native language. I think this is one of the strongest ways we can demonstrate our interest, respect and commitment to serving this underserved market,” commented Rafael Martinez, Senior Marketing Manager in charge of the Hispanic Initiative.

Collaborating in this effort are three longstanding agency partners of Aspire: IAC Ad Group (Miami, Fl) transcreated the Web sites, Creative Solutions Inc. (Hockessin, DE), oversaw the graphic design, and Visionary Systems Inc. (Atlanta, GA) developed the site coding.

CompuCredit Corporation is a credit card company that uses analytical techniques, including sophisticated computer models, to identify consumers who it believes are credit-worthy and are often turned down by more traditional consumer credit providers. CompuCredit markets unsecured Aspire(R) Visa(R) credit cards through direct mail, telemarketing and the Internet. In July 1999, CompuCredit launched its consumer web site, [][5] through its Internet marketing services subsidiary, Inc. Consumers can apply online and receive a credit decision within seconds. CompuCredit also markets credit insurance, card registration, buying club memberships and road services to its cardholders. Aspire Visa cards are issued by Columbus Bank and Trust Company under an agreement with CompuCredit. CompuCredit completed its initial public offering in April of 1999 and was included in the Russell 2000(R) Index in July 1999 and the NASDAQ FIN-100 Index in May 2000. For more information, visit the company web site at [][6].




Fair, Isaac and Marketswitch confirmed Tuesday they have formed a new loan scoring joint venture named OptiFI. The company will offer an unprecedented view into an individual borrower’s likelihood to pre-pay their loans. ‘Prepayment Speed’, is one of the most significant drivers of the profitability of a loan. Traditional methods used to determine “Prepayment Speed” have been limited to pool or loan level approaches. The technology developed by Marketswitch merges household level behavioral analysis with financial security pricing technology to unlock the value of understanding the impact of unique customer attributes on “Prepayment Speed”. Don Lange has been recruited to be Chairman and CEO of OptiFI.


Card Holograms 2001

A new security feature that combines a hologram with a machine-readable digital watermark is under development. OR-based Digimarc Corp. and American Bank Note Holographics are developing a holographic-digital watermark with enhanced covert features detectable by commonly available reader devices and special software. Machine-readable digital watermarks applied to holograms are designed to deter counterfeiting and make simulation attempts extremely difficult due to the layered technology approach. The holograms can be commonly found on VISA, MasterCard, Europay, Discover and Diner’s Club credit cards, as well as a wide variety of paper-based products such as currency, passports, and secure ID’s along with security and design packaging applications. ![][1]

[1]: /graphic/digimarc/digimarc.gif


Card Rates

San Francisco-based Consumer Action said last week that rising credit card rates and fees are impacting consumers with a poor credit history who cannot transfer debt to cards with better terms. The consumer group also criticized bankruptcy reform and punitive interest rates. CA found that penalty rates ranged from 14.50% charged by Arkansas National Bank to 29.99% for consumers with cards issued by Associates National Bank, Direct Merchants Bank and Household Bank. The CA survey already appears to be out-of-date. Due to the adjustments in general interest rates since the first of this year, credit card interest rates have fallen sharply. According to CardData ([][1]), the average interest rate charged for standard credit cards by the top ten U.S. issuers for February was 17.00% compared to 18.76% for December. Platinum card rates by the top ten issuers has fallen to 13.06%. Gold card average rates, currently 18.11%, are the highest due to the pricing employed by Capital One and Providian.




NY-based Bpass, Inc. introduced this week a new technology that provides access to real-time balance information for ATM-enabled accounts, allowing financial services providers to deliver balance information across multiple platforms. ‘BankPass’ will allow a consumer to register any ATM-enabled card and PIN through a variety of commonly-used access devices and receive balance information for any deposit or credit account accessible over partnering ATM networks. It does not require the cardholder to install specialized hardware or software and enables a financial institution to immediately provide access to account balances, whether or not the institution currently offers online or wireless banking services. Using standard message protocols such as XML and WAP, balance information can be delivered to the end user through a variety of delivery channels and devices. Bpass has secured arrangements with Citishare, a Citigroup subsidiary, to test ‘BankPass’.


Europay Up 15%

More than thirty-three million new cards bearing one or more Europay brands, namely, ‘Eurocard-MasterCard’, ‘Maestro’, ‘eurocheque’ and ‘Cirrus’, were issued by European member banks during the year 2000. The number of ‘Eurocard-MasterCard’ credit/charge cards rose 15% to reach 68.8 million. Europay debit products, ‘Maestro’, ‘eurocheque’ and ‘Cirrus’ reached 202.6 million, a 14% increase over last year. Over 183 million of these were ‘Maestro’ cards. The number of transactions generated by cards bearing Europay brands reached 11.2 billion, a rise of 16% over the previous year. Associated volume increased by 15% to a value of over ‘966.5 billion. The expansion of Europay acceptance networks across Europe was also significant, with ATMs increasing by 15% to almost 278,000. The number of terminals accepting ‘Maestro’ jumped 13% to reach 2.5 million, while 4.7 million merchants now accept ‘Eurocard-MasterCard cards’, a rise of 12%. Europay has a 71% market share in debit and a 59% overall market share in Europe according to RAM Research Group Ltd. (

EUROPAY SNAPSHOT (all figures in millions)

# Cards Issued 202.6 (+14%) 68.8 (+15%) 271.5 (+14%)
Gross Transactions 8,204.8 (+16%) 2,987.1 (+16%) 11,191.9 (+16%)
Gross Volume (‘)760,702.8 (+14%) 206,018.2 (+20%) 966,721.0 (+15%)
ATM Transaction 4,932.0 (+10%) 538.2 (+18%) 5,470.2 (+11%)
ATM Volume (‘)557,908.2 (+10%) 44,078.1 (+19%) 601,986.3 (+13%)

EP- Maestro, eurocheque,Cirrus MC-Eurocard-MasterCard
Source: RAM Research Group Ltd (


Humboldt Merger

Humboldt Bancorp announced the closing of its merger with Red Bluff, California-based Tehama Bancorp, whereby Tehama’s wholly owned subsidiary, Tehama Bank, has become a separate subsidiary under Humboldt Bancorp. As of March 1, 2001, the combined company currently had $895 million in assets and approximately 2,100 shareholders.

Under the merger agreement, Tehama shareholders will receive 1.775 shares of Humboldt Bancorp common stock for each Tehama Bancorp share in a tax-exempt exchange that will be accounted for as a pooling of interests. Humboldt will issue a total of 3.39 million new shares in connection with the merger and the outstanding Tehama stock options will be converted into 394,000 Humboldt options. Tehama shareholders will own approximately 37.5% of the combined company.

Humboldt Bancorp, headquartered in Eureka, California, offers consumer and business banking services through its bank subsidiaries. Humboldt Bank, founded in 1989, operates ten branches located in Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino counties. Capitol Valley Bank, founded in 1999, serves customers from its main office in Roseville, California. Capitol Thrift & Loan, a state-chartered industrial bank, operates nine offices throughout the state. Tehama Bank was founded in Red Bluff in 1984 and serves four Northern California counties through six branch offices.

This release may contain forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Such risks and uncertainties may include but are not necessarily limited to fluctuations in interest rates, inflation, government regulations and general economic conditions, and competition within the business areas in which the Company is conducting its operations, including the real estate market in California and other factors beyond the Company’s control. Such risks and uncertainties could cause results for subsequent interim periods or for the entire year to differ materially from those indicated. For a discussion of factors, which could cause results to differ, please see the Company’s reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Company’s press releases. Readers should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements, which reflect management’s view only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.


MasterCard Merger

There are indications this morning that MasterCard and Europay are planning to merge to form the world’s largest debit card network. Europay, which has exclusive rights to distribute MasterCards in Europe, and MasterCard, which owns about 12% of Europay, previously formed a joint venture to offer the ‘Maestro’ global debit card. According to the London-based Financial Times, the Board of Directors of MasterCard and Europay have agreed in principle to the merger which is expected to be formally announced this summer. Reportedly, the terms of the all-stock deal will give the European bank owners of Europay between 25% and 33% ownership of MasterCard International. Europay will also receive an unspecified number of board seats. MasterCard International has more than one billion ‘MasterCard’, ‘Cirrus’ and ‘Maestro’ branded credit, charge and debit cards in circulation, 19 million acceptance locations, and annual gross dollar volume of about $833 billion. Europay has 271.5 million ‘Eurocard-MasterCard’, ‘Maestro’, ‘Cirrus’ and ‘eurocheque’ debit and credit cards in circulation. For more details on the European card market and other international payment card developments visit RAM Research Group Ltd. ([][1]).



Online Card Channel

A new consumer survey shows that Internet marketing of credit cards produced four million new accounts for 2000. Meanwhile a former Citibank card executive has launched a credit card marketing Web site that endeavors to capture a maximum amount of feedback from card prospects. Atlanta-based Brittain Associates says more than 13 million new card accounts have been opened since 1996 as a direct result of online marketing. Brittain found that 57.2 million U.S. adults accessed the Internet at least once every two weeks or more during 1998 compared to 87.6 million during 2000. Brittain says the leaders in online credit card marketing include: NextCard, First USA, Providian, Citibank, Capital One and Discover. Meanwhile, S. Jeffrey Baxter, an industry consultant, has opened a Web site called: ‘’ that requires visitors to provide information about their interests, lifestyle, and credit standing which is then matched against a online database of credit card products offered by large issuers. Baxter’s Las Vegas-based Web site does not accept banner ads from credit card issuers and charges no placement fees for its listings. The Web site revenues are generated from commissions earned from approved applications. The latest report from Nielsen//NetRatings shows that Internet penetration has reached 60% in the USA, with more than 168 million people having Web access from either the home or the workplace in January. However overall response rates to banner ads have fallen below 0.50%.’s consumer channels, which attract about 300,000 visitors per month, produced a click-through-rate of 3.14% last week.


PayPal Utilizes ICS

Trintech, a leading provider of secure electronic payment solutions, announced that it signed a deal for the implementation of its Issuer Chargeback System (ICS) into the customer management system for PayPal, the world’s first and largest Internet-based person-to-person payments service.

![][1] The implementation of Trintech’s dispute management software supports PayPal’s recent initiative to issue co-branded MasterCard debit cards to business users among its six million plus customers. Trintech’s ICS solution will allow PayPal to manage both the cost and service implications of managing any disputed transactions that will arise from this extension of their service offering. The product will be integrated with PayPal’s customer management system (e-service) in order to allow PayPal to provide their clients with a high level of service throughout the dispute resolution process. Trintech’s ICS product solution is both a multi-language and multi-currency solution, which will support PayPal as they develop their international strategy.

“Our PayWare ICS solution provides all the functionality to efficiently and effectively manage any disputes arising from the chargeback process. We believe that PayPal will enjoy the benefits offered by ICS in terms of reduced cardholder attrition through improved customer service as well as reduced processing costs and increased productivity,” concluded John Harte, Trintech’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales.

“PayPal is committed to delivering a customer-friendly experience to all our users. It is a vital element of our customer service to ensure that any disputes are dealt with effectively — the addition of exception management capabilities to our payment solutions adds an extra dimension to our customer offering,” said Todd Pearson, Senior Vice President of Financial Services for PayPal. “The implementation of Trintech’s PayWare ICS will also allow us to more easily add new products to our product portfolio with reduced training for staff as the complex payment regulations are already encoded into the system.”

About Trintech

Trintech is a leading provider of secure electronic payment infrastructure solutions for real world, Internet and wireless transactions. The company, founded in 1987, offers a complete range of payment software products for credit, debit, commercial and procurement card applications. Trintech’s secure product range is deployed in over 35 countries worldwide and covers the payment requirements of consumers, card issuing banks, merchant acquiring institutions, merchants, eMerchants, telcos, wireless operators, ISPs/CSPs, Portals and large corporations. The Group’s range of scalable, open systems architecture solutions for UNIX(R) and Windows NT(TM) platforms covers consumer, merchant and financial institution requirements for all card-based payments, including eCommerce and the emerging world of mCommerce. Trintech can be contacted in the U.S. at 2755 Campus Drive, San Mateo, CA 94003 (Tel: 650-227-7000) and in Ireland at Trintech Building, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18 (Tel: 353-1-207-4000). Trintech can be reached on the Web at [][2]. Investor information can be found at . ICS Product Overview

Trintech’s Issuer Chargeback System (ICS) automates the exception management process from end-to-end, increasing processing efficiency and creating more opportunities for greater customer care.

ICS combines a powerful decision-support environment with compliant dispute regulations to enable optimum management of the entire chargeback process using an easily understood graphical user interface, for swift and informed decision-making.

The essential difference between ICS and other exception management systems is its built-in knowledge of national and international chargeback regulations. The chargeback regulations for VISA and MasterCard/Europay have been encoded into the application so that the system can recommend the appropriate action and chargeback reason codes for each case, replacing the need to navigate a series of intricate paper trails and complex and changing regulations. Combined with ICS’s ease of use, this dramatically reduces the average training time for new staff to be fully operational.

About PayPal

PayPal is the instant and secure online payment service that allows people and businesses to send and receive money by e-mail from bank accounts or credit cards. With more than six million members, PayPal is the world’s first and largest Internet-based payment network, and the No. 1 financial site on the Internet, according to PC Data Online. PayPal is the preferred payment service for online auctions, online community and group Web sites, and is seeing tremendous growth in use for e-commerce. PayPal members send over $7 million in more than 150,000 payments each day. Free to consumers, PayPal can be used from PCs or web-enabled mobile phones. A privately held company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, PayPal was named one of the 50 Most Important Private Companies in the World by Red Herring and one of the Top 25 New Companies by Fortune Small Business. The PayPal Website has been cited as among the “Best of the Web” by Forbes, Time, and U.S. News & World Report. For more information, please visit [][3].

[1]: /graphic/paypal/logo.gif


Prism POS Services

Prism Processing Services, the financial institution sales and service unit of Paymentech, has launched two new point-of-sale offerings for independent bankers and their merchant customers. Prism announced the services in Kauai, Hawaii this morning at the Western Independent Banker Association (WIB) Conference for bank presidents, senior officers and directors. Prism is the only merchant bankcard processor endorsed by the WIB.

Prism is one of the first to offer Telecheck’s Eclipse terminal, the first integrated payment terminal designed to provide support for electronic check conversion, and a proprietary gift card solution that will integrate gift card transactions with credit card processing. Prism provides independent banks with the ability to offer merchant clients the latest in payment processing technology.

Prism’s solution featuring the Eclipse terminal, offers a comprehensive payment solution that includes the TeleCheck(R) Electronic Check Acceptance(SM) (ECA(R)) service. ECA converts paper checks into an electronic transaction at the point of sale. ECA eliminates the hassles of processing paper checks, combining online check authorization and guarantee with an electronic capture of the transaction for settlement via the ACH network. The Eclipse terminal fully integrates the check transaction with other electronic payments such as credit and debit cards. Paymentech will also support electronic benefits transfers (EBT) and California truncation requirements.

ECA service is simplified with the Eclipse terminal: the merchant simply inserts the check into the terminal and enters the transaction information. Within seconds TeleCheck authorizes the transaction and the terminal prints a receipt for the customer to sign. With the signature TeleCheck electronically presents the transaction to the customer’s bank and automatically funds the merchant for the transaction within two business days.

Prism’s gift card solution is processed through Paymentech Network Services and eliminates the need for extra equipment and stand-beside applications when the merchant utilizes Paymentech for authorization and data capture services. Prism gift card services encompass customized plastic, transaction processing, specialized reporting, help desk support and database maintenance. The Prism/Paymentech Gift Card offers an electronic and highly secure alternative to paper gift certificates. Merchants can eliminate the need for costly stand-beside systems and extra equipment used with other gift card programs. This simplifies implementation and reduces a merchant’s initial investment.

Prism offers a full array of bankcard products, services and support to financial institutions. For nearly a decade Prism has been a leading processor providing tailored applications to meet the unique requirements of bank clients. Prism’s comprehensive services include: merchant sales and support, terminal management, authorizations and settlements, and reporting.

California-based Prism Processing Services ([][1]), founded in 1992, provides a wide-array of payment processing options to financial institutions nationwide. A subsidiary of Paymentech, Prism provides independent and community banks, credit unions and savings and loans institutions with full turnkey operations or customized merchant processing solutions. Paymentech, the payment solutions company(TM), is the nation’s largest processor and acquirer of credit card transactions, and the leader in non-face-to-face payment processing for Internet and direct marketing.



MIPS Japan

MIPS Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores for digital consumer and network applications, Monday announced the promotion of Kazufumi Nakagami to business development director and country manager for Japan, reporting directly to MIPS Technologies Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations Derek Meyer. Nakagami has more than 17 years’ experience in the semiconductor industry, primarily in the marketing of high-performance processors. In his new position, he is responsible for all Japanese business development operations at MIPS Technologies. Previously, he was the company’s senior marketing manager for Asia.

“I’m delighted to announce Kazufumi’s new responsibilities as business development director and country manager for Japan,” said Meyer. “His work in marketing the MIPS architecture helped make MIPS the de facto standard in 32- and 64-bit digital consumer applications in Asia, and I look forward to his continued success at growing our business in Japan.” “MIPS Technologies is a leader in the digital entertainment market with high-performance, low-power, low-cost solutions for products such as smart cards, set-top boxes, digital televisions and DVDs, and we plan to expand that leadership to other markets including automotive, communications products and office automation,” said Nakagami.

Prior to joining MIPS Technologies, Nakagami spent 11 years as microprocessor marketing manager of Nippon IDT KK (Tokyo). He earned his B.S. degree from Nihon University, Tokyo.

About MIPS Technologies, Inc.

MIPS Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores for digital consumer and network applications. The company drives the broadest architectural alliance that is delivering 32- and 64-bit embedded RISC solutions. The company licenses its intellectual property to semiconductor companies, ASIC developers and system OEMs. MIPS Technologies, Inc. and its licensees offer the widest range of robust, scalable processors in standard, custom, semi-custom and application-specific products. Licensees currently include: Alchemy Semiconductor, Inc., Altera Corporation, ATI Technologies, Inc., Atmel Corporation, Broadcom Corporation, Centillium Communications, Inc., Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Ltd., Conexant Systems, Inc., empowerTel Networks, Inc. (formerly known as Lara Technology, Inc.), ESS Technology, Inc., Gemplus International S.A., Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT), inSilicon Corporation, Integrated Telecom Express, Inc.

(ITeX), LSI Logic Corporation, Macronix America, Inc., Metalink, Ltd., Micron Technology, Inc., General Instrument Corporation (acquired by Motorola, Inc.), NEC Corporation, NeoMagic Corporation, NKK Corporation, Palmchip Corporation, Philips Semiconductors International B.V., Quantum Effect Devices, Inc. (acquired by PMC-Sierra, Inc.), QuickLogic Corporation, Sandcraft, Inc., SiByte, Inc. (acquired by Broadcom Corporation), Sony Corporation, Synova, Inc., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, TeraLogic, Inc., Texas Instruments Incorporated, Toshiba Corporation and Excess Bandwidth Corporation (acquired by Virata Corporation). Numerous companies utilize MIPS-based(TM) intellectual property. MIPS Technologies, Inc. is based in Mountain View, Calif., and can be reached at 650/567-5000 or [][1].