Providian UK

Providian Financial stepped up the pressure in the UK this week by signing a co-branded credit card agreement with the Argos Retail Group. ARG is a multi-channel general merchandise retailer with operations in the UK, where it is the largest catalogue retailer distributing millions of home shopping catalogues to consumers throughout the country each year. It also operates 460 retail stores under the name of Argos. Providian Financial has had a presence in the UK since April 1999, when the company established a branch of Providian National Bank in London. (See CF Library 4/30/99 and 9/1/99)

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Discover vs. VISA

It’s deja vu all over again as the owners of the Discover Card filed suit against VISA International over VISA’s exclusionary membership rules. The issue between the direct competitors was settled in 1993 after winding its way through U.S. courts. However this time, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter has filed a lawsuit in the UK. MSDW alleges that VISA prevented it from acquiring the VISA card portfolio of Bank One’s UK and Canada credit card operations. MSDW issues MasterCards in the UK. MSDW says the dispute in the 1991-1993 litigation was different since it owns the Discover credit card network which covers the US. However Discover is a US domestic card only and MSDW does not own a competing network in the UK. In May of this year, Royal Bank of Canada purchased the Canadian retail credit card business of Bank One which included 30 affinity card programs. (See CF Library 5/19/00) FULL STORY:

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PRISM Saves Aussies

ACI Worldwide said the licensing of its PRISM risk management solution to National Australia Bank for its operations in Australia and New Zealand to monitor ATM and POS transactions for credit card fraud has bee successful.

Since its inception in June, PRISM has already saved the National roughly A$2 million through the early detection of credit card fraud. Credit card fraud in Australia is growing at more than 30 percent per year and is expected to be on the increase throughout the Sydney Olympic Games.

![][1] According to National Australia Bank’s George Beatty, General Manager Global Cards – Australia, the response from customers has been positive. “PRISM offers the National an advanced fraud-detection system that identifies subtle patterns of fraudulent behavior by comparing individual card and account usage with known patterns of fraud. When a suspicious transaction is found, the transaction is flagged for prompt and appropriate action. This allows the bank to block cards and save credit lines before they are lost,” he said.

“With the explosive growth in online and e-commerce transactions worldwide, it is imperative to put in place effective systems and strategies to deter fraudulent activity,” said Jim Bhujoharry, Managing Director of ACI Worldwide (Pacific). “Because PRISM learns from every transaction, it equips the National with the most effective defense against transaction fraud.”

PRISM employs neural network technology that works with existing authorization systems, operates on a wide range of hardware platforms and includes patented technology provided by Nestor, Inc. (OTC: NEST).

About ACI Worldwide

ACI Worldwide (Nasdaq: TSAI) is helping customers change the way the world works with solutions designed to improve the way we live, work and shop. Every minute of every day, financial institutions, retailers and networking industries rely on ACI solutions and services to smoothly move money and information. As a leading international provider of solutions for e-payments, ACI maintains operations in the Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia/Pacific. More than 2,300 customers in 79 countries use ACI distributed solutions. Visit ACI Worldwide on the Internet at [www.aciworldwide.com][2].

[1]: /graphic/prism/prism.gif
[2]: http://www.aciworldwide.com/

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E-Sign

Beginning October first, “digital contracts” that consumers agree to online will have the same legal status as pen-and paper contracts. That’s when the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, or E-Sign, goes into effect.

The new law will make online contracts for a variety of business transactions, such as purchasing a car, buying an insurance policy, or closing a mortgage, more clearly enforceable. At the same time, it will allow businesses to satisfy their obligation to provide legally required notices to customers by sending those notices electronically, once the consumer provides consent for such online communication. If a consumer wants to revert to paper notices, the new law permits the business to charge a fee, as long as the fee was disclosed when the consumer first consented to electronic notice.

“Read the fine print before you enter into an online contract,” said Gail Hillebrand, Senior Attorney with Consumers Union’s West Coast Regional Office. “As consumers turn to the internet to handle more of their business transactions, they need to be vigilant to avoid unwittingly sacrificing their legal rights in the process.”

Consumers Union urged consumers to make sure they have the right to revert to paper notices without a fee if they don’t like getting information such as credit card statements electronically. Using email for legal notices may also create a special risk for consumers who don’t check their email regularly. The group cautioned consumers to refrain from giving out their email address to businesses unless they plan to check their email regularly and to avoid junk mail filters on their computer that might screen out messages from businesses authorized to send electronic notices. See the attached list for a complete set of consumer tips.

The new law broadly authorizes electronic records and electronic signatures as legally effective. But it does not identify the technology that must be used for an electronic signature. Instead, it defines an electronic signature as an electronic “sound, symbol, or process” attached to a contract or other record which was “executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

The E-Sign law contains some special consumer protections before businesses can send notices required by law to customers by email in place of paper notices. First, the consumer must consent or confirm a prior written consent electronically. The manner of consenting electronically must demonstrate that the consumer will be able to access the future information in the form in which it will be sent. Second, companies that send electronic notices must tell the consumer what hardware and software is needed to read them. Finally, under the federal law, businesses must continue to send paper notices for urgent matters such as utility shut-off, foreclosure, eviction, some loan default notices, and product recalls. This rule is designed to ensure that consumers do not miss critical notices because a computer problem prevented the consumer from receiving or opening the notice.

“While online contracts may be quick and convenient for computer-savvy consumers, we can’t overstate the importance of taking the time to understand all of the details and obligations before you sign on the digital line,” said Frank Torres, Legislative Counsel for Consumers Union’s Washington DC office.

The federal law allows its consumer protections to be displaced by state law if a state enacts the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). The federal law contains stronger standards for consent, disclosure, and document tampering than UETA, which some states have already passed. Consumers Union advises any state legislature which adopts the UETA in the future to clearly indicate that it does not intend to displace the federal consumer protections.

Consumers Union’s Tips for Consumers

When Using Electronic Signatures to Sign Online Contracts

Don’t give your email address to any business unless you are willing to check your email regularly and to read the notices you get from that business.

Use only one email address for all your personal business and close unused email addresses.

Place your order for merchandise offered at a web site by toll free phone or other method if you don’t want to enter into an online contract.

Watch for the screen that many online merchants offer which allows you to check “yes” or “no” to future advertising offers. Often this is automatically checked “yes” unless you change it. You may have to wade through the advertising “junk” from entities you do business with to find the notices that affect your legal rights.

Read the description of what software and hardware you will need to access future electronic notices.

As with any contract, read the fine print. Don’t agree to a contract that you don’t understand.

Print your order, confirmation screen, and any electronic notices you receive and keep the hard copies for later use.

Keep a list of the businesses with whom you have consented to receive electronic notices, and notify those businesses if your email address changes.

Be sure to notify a business which is providing you with goods or services if you can’t open the email you receive from that business. Do not dismiss these emails as junk mail — they could have important information about your legal rights.

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Mixed Signals

Performance statistics for credit card-backed securities show mixed results across the board, with chargeoffs establishing new four-year lows for the third consecutive month, delinquencies rising for the first time in five months, and payment rates slowing slightly. Excess spread, meanwhile, remains healthy, benefiting from chargeoff improvements that have helped offset the impact of higher financing costs. The results show that while chargeoffs continue to test new lows, the rise in delinquency coupled with an unexpected spike in personal bankruptcy filings during August, points to higher chargeoffs for the fourth quarter. According to the latest Fitch ‘Credit Card Performance Indexes’, personal bankruptcy filings in August totaled 110,196 versus 92,563 and 103,603 in the month- and year-earlier periods, respectively. The result snapped a string of 21 consecutive year-over-year improvements in personal filings. Year-date-filings now total 807,523, which is still more than 16% below 1999’s pace. While the delinquency and bankruptcy results will push chargeoffs higher in the coming months, Fitch projects the chargeoff index will hold in the low-to-mid 5% range through year-end.

CREDIT CARD SECURITIZATION PERFORMANCE
Period CO GY MP DL SP
Aug00 5.02% 19.27% 15.95% 2.85% 5.42%
Jul00 5.11% 19.05% 16.46% 2.77% 5.22%
Jun00 5.20% 19.40% 16.65% 2.79% 5.53%
May00 5.38% 18.44% 15.47% 2.89% 5.47%
Apr00 5.43% 19.72% 17.34% 3.01% 5.62%
Mar00 5.50% 19.30% 16.05% 3.21% 5.52%
Feb00 5.45% 18.48% 16.36% 3.06% 5.53%
Jan00 5.53% 19.36% 16.71% 3.17% 5.89%
Aug99 5.55% 19.04% 16.56% 2.96% 5.80%
CO-chargeoffs; GY-gross yield; MP-monthly payment rate;
DL- 60+ day delinquency rate; SP-3-month excess spread
Source: Fitch IBCA Credit Card Index

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FNBO & ValueStar

ValueStar Corporation, a leading rating organization of local service companies, announced an Agreement with First Bankcard Center, a division of First National Bank of Omaha to conduct a pilot project in the San Francisco Bay Area, bringing ValueStar’s rating information and ValueStar Benefits to FNBO’s credit card holders.

![][1] FNBO ranks as one of the nation’s top 20 credit card issuers.

This pilot program introduces the ValueStar Real-Time Ratings Transaction Engine for online and offline purchases. The program is a combination of unique branded ratings of local service businesses (ValueStar Top-Rated and ValueStar Verified), a proprietary ratings transaction engine, and a powerful cardholder benefits program.

“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 Benefits provide a compelling local solution for the highly competitive credit card environment,” stated George Schmelzel, Vice President of Marketing, at First National Bank of 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 Verified, with companies passing a license, legal and financial verification, and ValueStar Top-Rated, which meets the same criteria plus a proven record of high customer satisfaction. Companies that earn ValueStar Verified or ValueStar Top-Rated are invited to participate in the ValueStar Benefits program. To ensure unbiased ratings, the Public Research Institute of San Francisco State University and the Consumer Law Project of the University of Houston Law Center audit ValueStar’s telephone survey research provided by consumers.

The ValueStar Real-Time Ratings transaction engine allows consumers enrolled in the ValueStar Benefits program to automatically rate their satisfaction with each local service purchased offline from a ValueStar authorized 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. This transaction engine, due to be activated within 90 days, is expected to generate revenues in the following quarter.

FNBO credit card holders that purchase from and rate local ValueStar authorized companies will receive the following ValueStar Benefits:

Knowledge to find the best rated local businesses Power to publicly rate businesses in real-time ValueStar Rating Points redeemable for numerous products and services Assurance of complaint resolution services and a money-back guarantee.

The pilot will initially be introduced in the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by a nationwide roll-out.

About ValueStar

ValueStar(R) Corporation (OTC BB:VLST) is both a pioneer and a leading provider of branded ratings of local service companies.

Founded in 1992, ValueStar’s mission is to improve local marketplaces by providing knowledge, power and assurance. To accomplish this mission, ValueStar is expanding its branded ratings to eventually include most of the six million local service companies in America by introducing multi-tiered rating designations and adding additional branded content that is used in a buying context. It is developing the ValueStar Real-Time Ratings transaction engine and ValueStar Benefits which combine to enable, match, rate and reward local service transactions both offline and online. Based in Oakland, CA, ValueStar has partnerships with Netcentives, Experian, OurHouse.com, CompleteCar.com, FindGarage.com, Contractor.com, SimplyDone Business Solutions and e-Attorney. Key investors include eCompanies, TMCT Ventures, Seacoast Capital and Hull Capital. For more information, visit ValueStar at [www.valuestar.com][2].

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 $8 billion in assets and over 5,400 employees, First National of Nebraska rates as the tenth largest bank holding company west of the Mississippi. Established in 1863, First National of Nebraska serves over 6.6 million customers in all 50 states, with over 50 banking locations in Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and South Dakota.

First National prides itself as the largest in-house merchant processor in the United States, a top twenty VISA and MasterCard issuer, a top ten VISA and MasterCard processor, a top twenty 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.

(c)2000 ValueStar Corporation. All rights reserved. ValueStar, ValueStar Top-Rated, ValueStar Verified, ValueStar Real-Time Ratings, ValueStar Benefits and the ValueStar logo are trademarks of ValueStar Corporation. Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

[1]: /graphic/bankofomaha/omaha.gif
[2]: http://www.valuestar.com/

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Smart Jerusalem College

Contactless smart card technology provider OTI announced this week it has been granted a contract award for the delivery of a smart campus program to Hadassah College, Jerusalem. The implementation of OTI’s smart campus program at Hadassah is the company’s first project that combines OTI technology with campus card solutions provided by its recently acquired German subsidiary, InterCard GmbH Kartensysteme. Starting next month Hadassah College will implement OTI’s contactless, microprocessor-based smart card system to automate the student registration process, control computer lab access, track attendance in classrooms, and automatic vending and copying machines will be added at a later stage. OTI, listed on Germany’s Neuer Markt since August of last year, has produced US$6.0 million in sales during the first half of 2000.

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Gemplus Service Bureau

Gemplus, the world’s leading provider of smart card-based solutions, yesterday announced the creation of a service bureau providing Over-The-Air initialization of SIM cards for carriers.

This new service offering, which comes from Gemplus’ wireless group based out of Dallas, helps smaller carriers implement SIM-based applications. Over-The-Air initialization allows for new services and applications to be sent to the SIM cards and activated in GSM phones.

“Gemplus is pleased to come forward with complete Over-The-Air messaging services allowing carriers to remotely manage subscriptions with the best SIM technologies integrated within their networks,” said Jean-Louis Carrara, Director of Telecommunications, Gemplus Americas. “Making the most of SIM cards has never been easier.”

“Over-The-Air initialization allows me to offer my clients the value-added service of a larger carrier, without incurring the capital investment of creating an in-house service bureau,” added Bill Hayden, CEO, Westlink Communications. “I chose Gemplus because it was most responsive to my company’s needs, and could provide the most comprehensive solution for our company and our clients.”

David Miller II, President of Sprocket Wireless commented, “Sprocket Wireless is a small company just starting out in the PCS business. We were looking for a way to develop unique applications for our customers and get those features to them with minimum hassle. Gemplus has provided us with everything we have asked and more.” Miller continued, “Gemplus has treated us more like a business partner than a customer. We are very confident our venture will be successful.”

Gemplus

Gemplus ([www.gemplus.com][1]) is the world’s number one provider of smart card based solutions for security, wireless and m-commerce applications. Offering consulting services, design, software, hardware, personalization and full implementation, Gemplus works with its customers around the world to deliver comprehensive, integrated and tailor-made smart card based systems.

The Group’s customers use Gemplus memory and microprocessor smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags, smart objects and magnetic stripe cards to simplify and secure a wide range of applications. >From Web based and mobile commerce to financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, pay TV and physical and logical access control, Gemplus provides intelligent end-to-end solutions that bring security, convenience and ease-of-use to millions of people worldwide.

Founded in 1988, Gemplus had sales of over 767 millions of Euro ($U.S. 817 million) in 1999, and employs 6,300 people in 17 manufacturing facilities, 7 R&D centers and 44 sales and marketing offices located in more than 37 countries.

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

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Hypercom EMEA

Hypercom Corporation continued to aggressively close on the leadership position for point-of-sale equipment as awareness of and demand for the company’s solutions soared throughout Europe, the Middle-East and Africa during 1999 and 2000.

Hypercom terminal shipments in the region jumped 316% to 153,396 in 1999 versus 48,424 in 1998, as the electronic payments system provider outpaced and continued to take market share from all competitors, Hypercom CEO George Wallner said at the Mobile Commerce World and Card Conference here in London.

“Hypercom is rapidly building its European market share, and our technology is setting the standard for the electronic payments industry throughout this important region,” Wallner said. “We are bringing to market advanced terminals and value-added wireless, Internet-based and smart card advanced applications that allow merchants to maintain and increase their competitive edge in the rapidly changing marketplace. And our growth represents the market’s validation of that strategy.”

“We are well on the way to eclipsing our growth in 1999. In two years EMEA terminal shipments will have grown three-fold,” Wallner said. “Our near-term objective is to retain our rapid growth and further strengthen our position as the technology leader in this region.”

The company has also established direct offices in England, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Germany, Hungary and Russia – and appointed more than 30 authorized local partners.

Independent analysts and publishers have documented Hypercom’s rapid pace to overtake other vendors for worldwide leadership of the POS market. “Hypercom continues to grow organically, while our European competitors have grown through acquisition of market laggards. Hypercom reported worldwide revenues of $167.2 million for the first half of year 2000. That is, for example, 63% more than the leading European vendor has reported for the same period,” Wallner said.

Hypercom has introduced a number of groundbreaking products and services in recent months that enable merchants and their service providers to roll out new customer services and generate new revenue streams.

The company has developed a framework, called ePOS-infocommerce(TM), or ePic, to bring to market Internet-enabled terminals and their supporting gateway servers. Based on the popular ICE(TM) family of interactive touch screen terminals, a broad range of Internet-based information and services can now be made available, securely and cost-effectively, on the retail merchant’s countertop. The platform brings together advanced wireless, Internet and smart card technologies.

Hypercom is now rolling out multi-mode, touch screen card payment and web-enabled terminals for the retail countertop that allow merchants to conduct e-mail, e-commerce, electronic receipt capture, on-screen advertising and an array of other applications – without investing in costly and difficult to use personal computers.

Hypercom Corporation (NYSE: HYC) is a global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 100 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com][1].

Hypercom is a registered trademark of Hypercom Corporation. ICE and ePOS-infocommerce are trademarks of Hypercom Corporation. All other products or services mentioned in this document are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of their respective owners.

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

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FDC Real Estate

RealEstate.com, a leading provider of business-to-business Web-based real estate solutions, announced an agreement with First Data Corp., a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services, to create a more efficient transaction process for the more than 50,000 real estate industry professionals and business owners affiliated with the RealEstate.com network.

The agreement with First Data enables professionals to quickly and securely establish a merchant account and accept multiple forms of payment onlineincluding cash, checks and credit cardsvia the RealEstate.com Web site ([www.realestate.com][1]). Through this site, business owners and real estate professionals also will have access to RealEstate.com’s targeted products and services including customized, individual Web sites, market data, financing, and valuable educational content.

The First Data SurePay® payment gateway is the first that enables merchants to accept credit card transactions in real time, process check payments electronically via First Data subsidiary TeleCheck®, and accept cash payments for transactions initiated over the Internet through First Data subsidiary Western Union® retail agent locations. The SurePay gateway also provides e-businesses with fraud screening, reporting tools and transaction order and management capabilities.

“RealEstate.com’s recent introduction of TransactionPlus, combined with the SurePay gateway offering through RealEstate.com, gives our industry professionals the ability to order appraisals, check order status, and accept multiple forms of payment online,” said Pat Taylor, Executive Vice President of Business Development for RealEstate.com.

“Our agreement with First Data reinforces RealEstate.com’s commitment to constantly improve our product and service offerings to our customers by allowing them access to a complete suite of payment processing tools, which saves time for them and their clients and makes the overall process more efficient.”

“RealEstate.com shares our dedication to serving the needs of business owners nationwide, and its network of more than 50,000 real estate industry professionals provides us a major distribution channel to reach those businesses,” said Dominic Morea, Vice President of Internet Commerce at First Data. “First Data’s leadership in payment processing, coupled with RealEstate.com’s leading e-commerce applications, provide a compelling proposition to help make online transactions a more efficient, secure and accurate process.”

First Data Corporation

Atlanta-based First Data Corporation is a global leader in electronic commerce and payment services. Serving more than two million merchant locations, more than 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data makes it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services, using virtually any form of payment: credit, debit, stored-value card or check at the point-of-sale, over the Internet or by money wire. For more information, please visit the company’s Web site at [www.firstdata.com][2].

RealEstate.com

RealEstate.com, Inc. is a leading business-to-business application service provider that delivers Web-based, real estate solutions to real estate agents, brokers, lenders, appraisers and other real estate industry service providers, as well as to financial institutions that offer real estate services to their customers. RealEstate.com’s integrated suite of applications facilitates the complete lifecycle of the real estate transaction significantly reducing the cost, time and effort normally associated with the real estate process. RealEstate.com is not owned by any mortgage lending, real estate brokerage or trade organization, and therefore can provide objective information to consumers and business owners, helping them to make informed decisions in their real estate transactions. RealEstate.com is headquartered in the Atlanta Financial Center, in Atlanta, Georgia.

[1]: http://www.realestate.com
[2]: http://www.firstdata.com/

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Verified by Visa

VISA USA is set to unveil a new program that will initially combat chargebacks for e-merchants and may eventually lead to a lowering of interchange fees for online transactions by effectively changing card-not -present transactions into card present transactions. Under the ‘Verified by VISA’ program, cards with mag stripes or chips can be authenticated when used online. When a consumer is ready to complete an online purchase they will have the option of doing a ‘Smart Checkout’. With ‘Smart Checkout’ cardholders simply insert their card into a card reader attached to their PC. Mag stripe cards require the cardholder to enter a password while cardholders with ‘smart VISA’ cards do not need a password. The transaction is then authenticated by the card issuer’s server. VISA says the ‘Verified by VISA’ program will incent merchants to accept smart cards in the e-commerce environment by lowering chargebacks. VISA also said yesterday that ‘Verified by VISA’ is a practical alternative to ‘SET’, which has little support in the US.

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ECHO EZCheck Deal

Electronic Clearing House Inc. announced that agreements have been signed between XpressCheX Inc., an ECHO wholly-owned check processing subsidiary, and EZCheck, an affiliate of Houston-based Delta Card Services.

Under the agreement, EZCheck will offer two XpressCheX services, Electronic Check Conversion and Electronic Check Recovery. EZCheck’s parent company, Delta Card Services, is one of the largest independent card processors in the United States with 50,000 merchants, processing MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, Diners Club and debit cards. Delta Card Services, through its EZCheck affiliate, provides check guarantee and electronic check conversion services to its client base directly and through independent sales organizations.

EZCheck will promote XpressCheX’s ECC and ECR services to its base of merchants. The ECC service allows conversion of a customer’s check at the point of sale to be electronically processed through XpressCheX who then provides settlement of the funds using the Federal Reserve’s Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. XpressCheX also provides Internet reporting to EZCheck of all settlement activity and, as required, professional collection services. The benefits to retailers of using electronic checks at the point of sale include reduced costs from the elimination of paper handling, faster and more effective redeposit and return item processing, simplified reconciliation, detailed settlement and transaction reporting, improved customer information flow, and a lower incidence of fraud.

EZCheck will utilize XpressCheX’s ECR service that will electronically collect paper checks that have been returned for non-payment. Returned checks are sent to XpressCheX’s centralized processing center in Albuquerque, N.M., where they are electronically imaged and an electronic collection attempt is initially made through the ACH system. In the event that this method is unsuccessful, XpressCheX’s traditional collection department is utilized to send letters and place phone calls to the check writer in default. An image of the actual returned check is printed on the collection letter and merchants have the ability to view check images and track collection results online.

Ron Williams, President of EZCheck, stated, “The ability to provide state-of-the-art, front-end electronic banking services with online reporting, in conjunction with back-end traditional collections, is exciting for everyone involved.”

“We are pleased and honored that EZCheck has chosen XpressCheX to provide automated collection, traditional collection, imaging, and online reporting to their merchants,” stated Debra Kirk, manager of XpressCheX’s collection department.

There are over 18 billion checks accepted at the point of sale each year by merchants across the nation and over 100 million are returned to the merchant for non-payment. XpressCheX has been a leader in the development and deployment of electronic check services for nearly a decade and currently offers products which include check verification, electronic check conversion, imaging, electronic re-presentment, Internet checking, lockbox processing, and traditional collections.

About ECHO/XpressCheX: XpressCheX was acquired by ECHO in April of 1999. Depending upon the need of the customer, Electronic Clearing House Inc. can provide credit card processing, debit card processing, cash advance services, check guarantee, check verification, check conversion, inventory tracking and/or various Internet-based services. ECHO currently serves over 41,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation. ECHO also designs, develops and integrates software and point-of-sale hardware that is utilized as credit card processing terminals, automated money order dispensers, inventory tracking devices, and cash advance systems.

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