Top Online Merchants

Transaction data by 500,000+ NextCard cardholders reveals Amazon.com continues to hold the #1 ranking among top online merchants. AOL ranks as #2. The latest NextCard ‘eCommerce Index’ also shows that Priceline Air/Hotel and the Juno service are rising rapidly among Internet merchants while Ebay and Stamps.com have declined. Juno has been very aggressive with customer acquisition, including advertising, and in targeting customers of ISPs that have recently shut their doors. The NextCard ‘eCommerce Index’ combines two critical components to accurately reflect online transaction activity: 1) a large cardholder base of active online purchasers and 2) data-mining technology that tracks credit card transactions online.

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eOne Global

First Data and iFormation Group announced Monday they are creating a new company to accelerate emerging payment technologies. eONE Global LP will combine the distribution strength of First Data and iFormation’s expertise in building new online businesses. First Data is contributing certain operating businesses as well as existing Internet venture interests and management, valued at approximately $360 million, to eONE Global for a 75% equity interest. iFormation Group is contributing $135 million in cash and will receive an equity interest of 25% in the new company and a warrant for 1.75 million shares in First Data. First Data and iFormation together have committed an additional $100 million in cash, proportionate to their ownership levels, for future business development. eONE Global will focus on building the payments infrastructure for B2B, B2C, B2G, and P2P marketplaces. It will create and operate technologies that span these payment sectors, including wireless and multi-applications smart devices; stored value, digital cash and micropayments; as well as credit application and evaluation. Initial eONE Global operating businesses include SurePay LLC, a joint venture with Entrust Technologies, and CashTax, a subsidiary of eONE Global. Garen Staglin will become President/CEO while FDC’s Ric Duques will be Board chairman. Other members of top management include John Duncan, former First Data Internet Commerce Group head and MasterCard executive; Scott Loftesness, a payments and technology expert with experience from VISA International; and Dave Treinen of FDC. iFormation Group was created by The Boston Consulting Group, General Atlantic Partners and The Goldman Sachs Group.

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VISA Infinite Rollout

Visa U.S.A. announced that it is partnering with National City Corporation for an initial product offering of Visa’s newest and most exclusive credit card – the Infinite card. National City Corporation, headquartered in Cleveland, is inviting 500 of its most important customers to use the card and provide feedback on the card’s benefits and services.

Targeting the affluent market, the Infinite card is a relationship-building tool for Visa’s member banks, like National City, to reward their most affluent customers. Infinite has no preset spending limits and offers unsurpassed amenities to suit the affluent market’s more upscale and active lifestyle. However, individual transactions are authorized by Card Issuers based on factors such as account history, credit record, and payment resources. Card Issuers pre-set upper limits for cash advances.

“Visa is pleased to have partnered with National City Corporation in the creation and development of their Visa Infinite card,” said Sarah Thompson, Vice President for Consumer Credit Products for Visa U.S.A. “This partnership allows us to introduce the card on a limited basis to affluent customers and gather valuable feedback on the card’s benefits and services. This initial effort serves as an excellent opportunity for us to pilot the Infinite card with a select group of card holders prior to a national roll-out.” According to Visa, the Visa Infinite card features attractive customer rewards, services, flexibility and customization at a level unmatched by any other premium card in the market. Unique only to Visa Infinite, the Customized Rewards Program allows cardholders to tailor rewards according to their own preferences and redeem points for goods and services that best meet their needs. Recurring Bill Payments allows cardholders to make automatic, scheduled payments on their cards to any merchant enrolled in this service. The Automatic Monthly Payment feature allows cardholders to have Infinite card payments automatically deducted from their checking, savings, or money market account. “The affluent market is expected to grow by 20 percent over the next five years. Such growth potential presents Visa with a not-to-be-missed opportunity to provide a premium product that enables our member banks to build stronger relationships with their most important customers,” Thompson added. “The Infinite card serves a more active, demanding market, satisfying those who need a payment product that includes many time-saving services.”

The Visa Infinite Concierge Plus service provides dependable, around-the-clock help with cardholders’ personal and business needs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With one phone call, Infinite Concierge provides a range of services including restaurant reservations, gift purchasing, travel information, business services and appointments with a personal shopper. Cardholders are guaranteed access to reservations at exclusive restaurants, wineries and hotels. The Visa Concierge will also provide a complete description of the restaurant including reviews and sample menus.

The Infinite card includes additional highly specialized features designed to satisfy upscale needs:

Online Account Information No Pre-Set Spending Limit Year-End Summary Statements 24×7 Live Customer Service Free Companion Airline Ticket Robb Report Subscription Airport Parking Guarantee Privacy Commitment

Visa U.S.A. is the leading payment brand and the largest payment system in the United States, with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 14,000 U.S. member financial institutions and their cardholders. There are 344.7 million Visa credit, commercial and check cards, which generate $765.1 billion in annual transaction volume in the U.S. Visa-branded cards are accepted at over 19 million locations worldwide, including some 625,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is .

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AAA Phone Card

Cognigen Networks, Inc. , a Seattle-based applications service provider and Internet telecommunications marketing company, and AAA Washington announced the roll-out of communications services for AAA Washington members, including a jointly crafted unique calling card product utilizing members’ existing AAA Washington membership cards as pre-paid calling cards.

In addition to the calling card program, Cognigen is partnering with AAA Washington to offer the club’s 640,000 members discounted long distance telephone service as well as dish satellite TV.

Cognigen Switching Technologies (CST), a division of Cognigen Networks, developed the custom calling card program with AAA Washington and will provide service through its customized switching platform and high-quality carriers throughout the world.

Following a simple process accessed online or by telephone, AAA Washington members can activate and recharge their cards at competitive rates for use in daily communications throughout the United States and to more than 200 countries. Cognigen will provide customer support on a 24-hour basis.

Charlie Liekweg, president and chief executive officer of AAA Washington, said, “AAA Washington’s goal is to provide the best in value and service to our members. We’re pleased to add these convenient communications products to our portfolio of emergency road service, travel and insurance offerings. Our members are quite mobile, and we believe these products will prove to be very popular.”

Darrell Hughes, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Cognigen Networks, Inc., said, “We are particularly excited about the creative application of Cognigen’s technological expertise in developing the calling card program with AAA Washington management. We share their focus on providing customers with innovative products and excellent customer service.”

Additionally, Rich Rime, director of business development for AAA Washington, said, “The membership calling card program, the long distance telephone service and dish satellite TV are the first in a suite of communications services that add value to membership in AAA Washington. We look forward to working with Cognigen as we introduce these new services.”

Cognigen Networks, Inc. is a worldwide applications service provider and major Internet marketer of telecommunications and other products and services. Cognigen offers a wide range of services via the company’s Web site [http://www.cognigen.com][1]. Additionally, the company markets to approximately 250,000 customer accounts worldwide through a network of independent agents, each with a customized Web site.

AAA Washington provides more than 640,000 members in western and central Washington a full range of products and benefits, including full-service travel agencies and personal lines insurance agencies in each of its 13 service centers; a range of auto-related services; a variety of financial products; and member discounts on many consumer products and services. Although its travel and insurance agencies are available to the general public, AAA members benefit additionally from many special discounts and exclusive programs. A not-for-profit organization, AAA Washington also assists travelers through its highway and transportation safety and legislative advocacy programs. More information about AAA Washington is available on the company’s Web site at [http://www.aaawa.com][2].

[1]: http://www.cognigen.com/
[2]: http://www.aaawa.com/

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Turkish Proton

The Pathways Group has signed agreements with several Turkish banks to develop smart card solutions. Under terms of the deal, Pathways will establish a transaction processing center that can process credit, debit and smart card transactions for all participating banks. In addition to providing the ‘Proton’ electronic purse, Pathways will assist the banks in creating loyalty and affinity programs to tie together related businesses such as restaurant chains, hotel chains, travel agencies, supermarkets, airlines, insurance companies and car rental agencies. As a part of this process, it is contemplated that a Turkish company will be formed and owned by participating banks and The Pathways Group. This company will purchase a ‘Proton’ operating license for Turkey.

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Cards for Bags

An airline has come up with a program to issue stored value debit cards to passengers with lost luggage. Swissair and Sabena airlines are offering passengers who are waiting for lost luggage to be found, MasterCard debit cards to cover costs for immediate needs. The debit cards carry various amounts and are distributed to passengers who arrive at their final destination in the U.S. only without their checked bags. The airline says the majority of lost luggage is found and returned within 24 hours. The Swissair and Sabena MasterCard debit cards are valid until funds on the cards are depleted. The cards cannot be used at ATM’s or bank tellers for cash withdrawals. Swissair offers direct service to Switzerland from Atlanta, Miami, New York, Newark, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington,D.C., Montreal and Los Angeles.

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Euronet Lands Novabank

Euronet is installing electronic transaction software for NovaBank in Greece, a new financial institution that entered the Greek retail banking market with the simultaneous opening of 45 branches last month. Euronet installed its core middleware product, ‘Integrated Transaction Management’, as well as modules for debit card system management, ATM network management, and ATM bill-pay. The middleware’s on-line connection with NovaBank’s back-office system allows new accounts to become active immediately and provides real-time transfer of data. Euronet also provided special software functionality enabling NovaBank branches to immediately issue ‘VISA Electron’ debit cards and PINs to new customers on site.

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Tidel ATMs

Tidel Technologies reported this morning an all-time high for ATM shipments in the third quarter. Tidel shipped 3,739 ATMs for its quarter ending Sept. 30, an increase of 36% over the 2,742 units shipped in the same quarter a year ago and an increase of 9% over the previous quarterly record of 3,419 units set in June 2000. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2000, the company shipped a record 12,426 units, an increase of 76% over the 7,061 units shipped in fiscal 1999 and an increase of 200% over the 4,140 units shipped in fiscal 1998. Fore more details on Tidel’s 3Q financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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XTRAN System

Miami-based Far East Ventures signed agreements to distribute CA-based Key Com’s ‘XTRAN’ electronic money transfer machines. ‘XTRAN’ allows the immediate transfer of cash from one point to another. Money transfers between the U.S. and foreign countries are expected to be the venture’s largest source of business. For example, approximately $6 billion per year is transferred from the U.S. to Mexico. Last year, almost $800 million was transferred to the island of Jamaica alone. Transfers to other countries in the Caribbean and Latin America account for this industry’s largest source of revenues. Bank One has agreed to provide cash transferring services under a multi-million dollar bond.

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Credit Quality Stable

Standard & Poor’s expects that consumer credit quality will remain stable for the foreseeable future, according to Tom Warrack, a director in Standard & Poor’s Structured Finance Ratings group.

After analyzing average FICO® scores and average loan-to-value ratios, Mr. Warrack demonstrated that credit quality trends in subprime home equity mortgages are staying consistent.

“We think credit quality trends are going to remain pretty stable,” Mr. Warrack said.

For instance, in the second quarter of 2000, the average FICO® score was 600, compared to approximately 606 in the year-ago period. The average LTV in the same time frame was 76%, while it was 76.5% in the year-ago period.

These figures show that as FICO® scores dropped, the average LTV also dropped, indicating that mortgage loan originators may be not be relaxing lending standards in order to generate borrower business.

This information and more is available in “Trends in Residential Mortgage Products,” a quarterly publication that is available via RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor’s premier, Web-based, credit analysis system.

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Out of Gas

The Priceline ‘Blue Gas Card’ and ‘Green Grocery Card’ have run out-of-gas and are headed for the check-out. The Priceline WebHouse Club announced Thursday it is closing shop over the next 90 days after failed efforts to raise more working capital from investors. More than two million cardholders holding “name-your-own-price” grocery and gas cards will be affected. However, the WebHouse Club said that all customers with unredeemed gas and groceries would receive a full refund of any prepaid amount, plus extra money to cover the estimated savings they were expecting to receive at the grocery store and gas pump. All WebHouse Club customers will receive an e-mail detailing the automatic refund process. Customers owed a refund will automatically receive it on their credit card. Refunds will be processed no later than Friday, Oct. 20. The company said its cash reserves of approximately $50 million, as well as $20 million of additional working capital, would be more than sufficient to satisfy all obligations to customers, employees and suppliers. The WebHouse Club had a total of 7,200 grocery stores and 6,000 gas stations participating in the “name-your-own-price” program. Yesterday’s announcement does not apply to any services offered by priceline.com, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, mortgages, new cars, rental cars and long-distance services. The Priceline WebHouse Club is a privately-held licensee of priceline.com.

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College Phone Cards

Effective in October, Sprint plans to offer products and services to college students through TheCampusHub.com, a company formed by the Nebraska Book Company, Haas Wheat & Partners, and MSD Capital.

TheCampusHub.com gives campus bookstores a turnkey e-commerce solution that allows them to provide textbooks, collegiate merchandise, and other goods and services online. In addition, TheCampusHub.com arms the college bookstore with a “click-and-mortar” strategy to effectively compete against online competitors.

“By working with industry leaders like Sprint, TheCampusHub.com helps to drive traffic through the college bookstore’s Web site rather than around it,” said Barry Major, president, TheCampusHub.com. “Bookstores are able to offer an exciting new product, while increasing revenues for the store, and students will enjoy the convenience of buying online.

“We believe the bookstores are in the best position to provide quality products and services that serve students’ needs, as well as improve store profitability. We will soon be announcing other services that will further make the bookstore’s Web site the preferred site of college students,” said Major.

TheCampusHub.com provides a campus bookstore’s Web site with inventory of name brand items the bookstore may not currently offer, without adding thousands of feet of floor space.

“We believe that the bookstore is our customer and the student is the bookstore’s customer. The CampusHub concept is centered around that belief,” said Major. “In the first 90 days of implementation, we have penetrated more than 20 percent of the 15 million student population by installing this software in bookstores that see this as a way to keep their customers shopping locally and improve store profitability. We think our business strategy has been validated by the overwhelming response thus far and the tremendous interest we have seen from the bookstore industry.”

According to Major, TheCampusHub.com allows every college bookstore to create a dominating presence in the e-commerce arena. The bookstore historically has been the place where commerce has been transacted with the college student. Through CampusHub, bookstore managers can build an online presence that becomes a natural extension of where college students have been shopping for decades.

Beginning this October, Sprint will offer “virtual” prepaid phone cards to college students across the nation. Through their college bookstore’s Web site, students may purchase a Sprint phone card on line anytime, day or night. The virtual prepaid phone cards are e-mailed immediately to the student and may be downloaded to a printer, or calling instructions may simply be written down for future reference.

“We are excited to team up with TheCampusHub.com to offer students the convenience of purchasing prepaid phone cards online and we look forward to bringing other Sprint products to CampusHub in the near future,” said Tom Murphy, director, Sprint prepaid phone card sales and marketing. “The college market is an attractive demographic for Sprint, and through CampusHub, we are able to bring a wonderful product to market quickly and effectively.”

About TheCampusHub.com

TheCampusHub.com is based in Lincoln, Neb., and was formed by the Nebraska Book Company, Haas Wheat & Partners, and MSD Capital in May 2000. The company gives campus bookstores an integrated and turnkey e-commerce solution and allows them to serve students as the primary online buying source for textbooks, collegiate merchandise, and other goods and services. Haas Wheat & Partners is a private equity firm that invests in operating companies through friendly acquisitions in concert with company management. MSD Capital, the private investment firm of Michael Dell, engages in a broad range of activities, with a primary focus on investing in new, promising technology companies, traditional private equity activities, and investing in publicly traded securities.

About Nebraska Book Company

Based in Lincoln, Neb., Nebraska Book Company was founded in 1915 and is one of the nation’s largest used textbook wholesalers. Nebraska Book currently sells more than 7.1 million books annually to approximately 2,000 college bookstores, and owns or operates 100 bookstores. Nebraska Book also operates a cooperative buying program whose more than 400 member bookstores represent a large portion of the major universities in the country. In addition, Nebraska Book provides inventory management software to more than 300 college bookstore locations.

About Sprint

Sprint is a global communications company — at the forefront in integrating long distance, local, and wireless communications services — and one of the largest carriers of Internet traffic. Sprint built and operates the United States’ first nationwide, all-digital, fiber-optic network and is a leader in advanced data communications services. Sprint has $20 billion in annual revenues and serves more than 20 million business and residential customers.

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