College MasterCard

College Parents of America and Debix Systems unveiled a pre-paid stored-value MasterCard this morning. The new debit card is obviously geared towards families of college-age students. The ‘College Parents of America MasterCard’ can be used to obtain cash from an ATM machine and for purchases. Parents, as well as students, can regularly track spending activity and remaining balances via a Web interface. The card is also re-loadable whereby students and parents can add additional funds via the Web or by calling the toll-free customer service line. CPA and Debix also announced they are offering a credit card version of the MasterCard under which parents can set credit limits and monitor the account. Parents who acquire either CPA card for their student will receive the College Parents of America/MasterCard International produced booklet “Money Talks — Helping Your High School and College-Aged Children Master the Financial Facts of Life.”

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Hypercom Brazil

SmartNet has selected Hypercom transaction software, Internet-enabled card payment appliances and networking equipment for a nationwide network it is developing to streamline payment transactions in Brazil. SmartNet’s first two customers, VR Group and SETRANSP, anticipate deploying more than 120,000 Hypercom contactless smart card ‘ePic ICE 5500’ card payment terminals within the next 24 months. SmartNet is a newly-created independent network service provider in Brazil. The SmartNet network will offer services such as voucher and ERC to merchants throughout Brazil. The network will support various payment options such as magnetic stripe, smart cards, contactless smart cards, stored value and hybrid card technologies. VR Group and SETRANSP will use the network to automate the distribution and authorized use of government transportation stamps. The first phase of this effort will focus on delivering 400,000 cards and deploying 2,500 Hypercom ‘ePic’ card payment devices projected to handle an estimated 1,000 transactions per month, per terminal.s

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AmEx Calling Plan

American Express has signed up Qwest Communications to offer its two million small business cardholders super low rates on long distance calling. The key benefit for small businesses is a 6 cents a minute interstate calling rate with no monthly fees or term commitments. The program also provides fee-free use of the first toll-free telephone line and a 17-cent per minute calling card with no connection fees. Other benefits include: an optional international calling plan discounted at 50% and 80% off additional toll-free numbers and enhanced toll-free services. Qwest is the newest partner to join the AmEx ‘Everyday Savings’ program. Other partners include: FedEx, Hertz, Hilton, IBM and Mobil.

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VisaBusiness.com

eVISA yesterday announced it is launching VisaBusiness.com this Fall. The new site for small businesses will be designed specifically to help companies use the web more effectively for buying and selling products and services. The site will offer a comprehensive exchange of business products and services, web hosting, breaking news and expert advice. The site will also deliver additional value-added on-line offers exclusively for ‘VISA Business’ cardholders. eVISA has enlisted the help of Seattle-based Onvia to build the new site. The Onvia deal also includes cooperation on new marketplaces, enabling payment technologies, marketing programs to reach small businesses using the ‘VISA Business Card’ and preferential presentation of the VISA payment solution on the Onvia.com site.

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July Spending Up 3.5%

Both unusually cool and unusually hot weather could have been factors in the 3.5 percent increase in nationwide same-store retail sales for July over the same period last year, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. Trying to beat the heat in the Southwest, many shoppers may have flocked to air-conditioned shopping malls resulting in a 4.8 percent sales increase for that region, the highest in the country. The Northeast showed the second-greatest increase followed by the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic (tied), and the West and the Midwest (tied). The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 228,000 subscribing locations. Compiled on a calendar basis, TeleCheck’s index is based on a broad cross-section of retailers. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC).

‘Despite a four-day Fourth of July holiday and an extra weekend during this July as compared to July of 1999, the modest 3.5 percent increase in retail sales nationwide indicates slower economic growth. The unseasonably cool weather in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions might have impacted sales also, hindering shoppers’ need to purchase summer merchandise,’ said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Advisor.

The Southwest region rose 4.8 percent. Texas climbed 5.1 percent, Oklahoma grew 4.6 percent and Missouri’s sales increased 4.1 percent. Sales grew 5.4 percent in Houston, 5.1 percent in Austin, 5.0 percent in Oklahoma City, 4.8 percent in San Antonio, 4.6 percent in Dallas / Ft. Worth, 4.5 percent in St. Louis, 4.2 percent in Tulsa and 3.3 percent in Kansas City.

Sales were up 3.7 percent in the Northeast, with increases of 4.6 percent in Massachusetts and 3.0 percent in New York State. Boston’s sales were up 5.0 percent and New York City’s sales rose 2.9 percent.

Sales in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions both rose 3.5 percent. In the Southeast, The Carolina’s sales grew 4.0 percent, Tennessee’s sales increased 3.7 percent, Florida was up 3.5 percent, Georgia’s sales gained 3.2 percent and Louisiana’s sales rose 2.9 percent. Orlando’s sales grew 4.2 percent, while Nashville’s sales increased 3.9 percent, Atlanta was up 3.8 percent, Miami / Ft. Lauderdale rose 3.7 percent, New Orleans was up 3.5 percent, Memphis increased 3.3 percent and Tampa’s sales grew 3.1 percent.

In the Mid-Atlantic, Pennsylvania’s sales increased 4.3 percent, sales in Maryland rose 3.7 percent, sales in New Jersey were up 3.1 percent and sales grew in Virginia by 3.0 percent. Sales rose 4.6 percent in Philadelphia, 4.0 percent in Pittsburgh, 3.7 percent in the District of Columbia and 3.5 percent in Baltimore.

Sales in the Midwest and West were up 3.1 percent. In the Midwest, Michigan’s sales increased 3.8 percent, Illinois’ sales grew 3.6 percent, Wisconsin’s sales were up 3.1 percent, Minnesota was up 2.8 percent and Ohio was up 2.6 percent.

Chicago’s sales were up 4.0 percent, Detroit saw sales increases of 3.9 percent, Minneapolis was up 3.1 percent, Cleveland’s sales grew 3.0 percent and Milwaukee’s sales were up 2.6 percent.

In the West, Hawaii saw a 5.4 percent sales increase, sales in both Colorado and California climbed 3.1 percent, Arizona’s sales grew 3.0 percent, Oregon’s sales were up 2.9 percent and Washington’s sales increased 2.7 percent. Los Angeles’ sales rose 3.3 percent, San Diego’s sales grew 3.1 percent, sales increased 2.8 percent in Denver, the Bay Area and Portland, sales in Phoenix grew 2.6 percent and Seattle’s sales rose 2.5 percent.

TeleCheck’s figures are not adjusted for inflation. Checks account for approximately one-third of retail spending. In 1999, TeleCheck authorized more than $155 billion in checks, representing 3.1 billion transactions. For more information about TeleCheck, visit the Internet site at [www.telecheck.com][1].

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

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Verbind in Round 3

Verbind Inc. announced it has received $35 million in a third round of financing led by GE Equity, the private arm of General Electric Company. Also participating in the round were The Audax Group; Financial Technology Ventures; SunAmerica Equity; Grove Street Advisors; Dain Rauscher Corporation; GTG Ventures, as well as Verbind’s original investors, Patricof Ventures Inc., Fidelity Ventures and Commonwealth Capital. The financing will drive Verbind’s near-term growth by bolstering its sales, marketing and development efforts. The financing round was managed by SG Cowen Securities Corporation.

Verbind, founded in 1997, is a pioneer developer of behavioral state marketing solutions for traditional and dot.com companies. Verbind’s solutions, based on a patented application of established functional state technology, enable their clients to continuously analyze the behavior of each of their customers. Using this information, businesses can deliver individual marketing communications across a variety of contact points including the Web, call centers and ATMs.

“GE Equity recognizes Verbind’s potential in the realm of creating true one-to-one customer relationships using behavioral state marketing,” said Verbind President and CEO John Kish. “Their enthusiasm for investing in Verbind, particularly in today’s challenging investment environment, demonstrates their confidence in our patented technology and our ability to provide one-of-a-kind, cutting-edge solutions.”

GE Equity is a subsidiary of GE Capital, a diversified financial services company with assets of more than $345 billion.

“Verbind’s unique eCRM products and services are meeting mission-critical needs in the financial services, retail and telecommunications industries,” said Kathy Konopka, a vice president at GE Capital’s Equity Group, who will join Verbind’s board of directors. “From a financial services perspective, we see increasing demand for systems that enable companies to interact openly and instantly with their customers to reduce attrition and increase customer lifetime value. Verbind’s Lifetime(TM) solution satisfies such needs by enabling marketers to capture, analyze and act on both online and offline customer behavior.”

About GE Equity

GE Equity, a subsidiary of GE Capital, is the private equity arm of General Electric. GE Capital, with assets of more than U.S. $345 billion, is a global, diversified financial services company with 28 specialized businesses. A wholly-owned subsidiary of General Electric Company, GE Capital, based in Stamford, CT, provides equipment management, mid-market and specialized financing, specialty insurance and a variety of consumer services, such as car leasing, home mortgages and credit cards, to businesses and individuals around the world. GE is a diversified manufacturing, technology and services company with operations worldwide. ([http://www.geequity.com][1].)

About Verbind

Verbind ([http://www.verbind.com][2]) is the pioneer in developing behavioral state marketing solutions that empower firms to target customers and deliver messages that help build one-to-one relationships on the basis of individual patterns of behavior. Verbind’s patented real-time solution produces the most complete and timely information for targeting who, what and when to communicate most effectively. By synthesizing offline and online interactions, monitoring activity and non-activity, and automatically sending messages when they are most relevant, companies are able to not only track when customer behavioral trends reveal business opportunities and threats, but are also able to reach the right customer with the right message at the right time. Verbind is headquartered Lexington, Massachusetts.

[1]: http://www.geequity.com/
[2]: http://www.verbind.com/

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Wireless Argentina/Spain

Digital Courier Technologies, Inc.,a provider of end-to-end, fully integrated e-payment solutions, announced that ACI Worldwide has signed on Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and Telefonica Moviles SA of Spain for wireless payment processing services, using technology licensed from DCTI. BBVA and Telefonica Moviles will power their joint venture, MovilPago, with ACI’s enterprise mobile payments solution.

MovilPago is an innovative payment system that allows consumers to conduct m-commerce, enabling payments over wireless communications systems. MovilPago will deploy the system in 30 countries over the next two years, with an anticipated 100 million consumers using the system and 5 million merchants accepting payments. MovilPago’s m-commerce allows payments to be made from any existing Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) or other digital handset with no modification required to the handset or SIM card.

According to Strategy Analytics, m-commerce purchases worth $200 billion will be conducted around the world by 2004, which translates into 130 million customers and 14 billion transactions a year.

“By integrating our technology with ACI’s BASE24, DCTI and ACI are able to provide cutting edge technology to the Internet payment marketplace,” said DCTI President Don Marshall.

The e24 product suite is designed to help financial institutions, retailers and emerging e-commerce businesses extend their existing payments infrastructures into the rapidly growing world of business-to-consumer electronic commerce. e24 commerce solutions handle all aspects of web-initiated payments and include value-added features to enhance customer service, merchant reporting and management, and web-centric fraud detection and management. ACI Worldwide’s e24-portal and e24-risk commerce products are powered by DCTI.

About DCTI:

DCTI is an emerging e-payment market leader providing an advanced, fully integrated e-payment service for merchants and financial institutions. The DCTI services feature a unique fraud protection and risk management system. DCTI has a growing list of over 600 merchant customers, representing more than $70 million in transactions processed monthly and spanning every e-commerce market segment. DCTI has greatly expanded its sales and marketing reach through reseller relationships and strategic partnerships with ACI Worldwide, the global leader in ATM services; Equifax; Innuity; NDC e-Commerce; Visa International; and others. DCTI is headquartered in Park City, Utah, with offices in San Francisco, California, Clearwater, Florida and in West Sussex, England. For more information, visit DCTI on the Web at [http://www.DCTI.com][1].

About ACI Worldwide:

ACI Worldwide 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 [http://www.aciworldwide.com][2].

About BBVA:

BBVA is the largest financial group in Spain both in terms of profit and market capitalization and is the second largest within the Euro zone. In 1999 group profits reached 1.75 billion euros and assets totaled 238 billion euros. BBVA Group is present in 37 countries, mainly in Europe and Latin America, through a network of more than 9,300 branches, and employs 130,000 people.

The group has 35 million clients and 1.5 million shareholders. Its stock is quoted on nine stock exchanges around the world. BBVA employs advanced technology in distribution channels, manages one of the largest industrial portfolios in Spain, and shows an extraordinary strong balance sheet.

About Telefonica Moviles:

Telefonica Moviles is the mobile telephone communications subsidiary of the Telefonica Group, which is one of the world’s five largest telecom companies. It has more than 20 million clients throughout Spain (11.5 million clients), Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala and Puerto Rico) and Morocco. The company is a true leader in the Spanish and Latin American markets, not only in terms of number of clients but also in terms of innovation and deployment of the latest technologies for the development of new services.

[1]: http://www.dcti.com/
[2]: http://www.aciworldwide.com/

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TSYS Gift Cards

Total System Services, Inc. announced an agreement with pointpathbank, a full-service Internet bank owned by Synovus Financial Corp to support its stored value programs, beginning with a Visa-branded prepaid gift card. The gift card will be processed on TSYS’ new stored value platform and marks TSYS’ entry into the association-branded gift card market. Sold via pointpath’s Web site, the purchaser can select a pre-designed, customizable greeting card to be mailed with the gift card.

pointpath will offer the gift card along with a full suite of banking products to include mortgages, loans, credit and debit cards. The TSYS Stored Value Platform will provide pointpath with the ability to offer any prepaid card product including teen, allowance, loyalty, employment, insurance and Web.

pointpath President and CEO Lisa L. White said, “We are excited about extending our partnership with TSYS beyond credit and debit into the stored value card market. Adding the Visa brand to our gift card allows our customers to give a gift that is redeemable throughout the world and convenient to use whether shopping online or at a physical merchant location. Our ability to offer personalized greetings is an added convenience to our customers.”

“Gift card is an explosive new market with positive impact for everyone,” said Scot Sasser, TSYS Director of Stored Value Products. “Issuers have another revenue channel, while merchants improve the gift certificate process, build their brand and customer loyalty by providing consumers with a very desirable product. TSYS is excited to be a key player in this market space, and we are proud to partner with pointpath as they launch this new product,” said Sasser.

How does the pointpath gift card work? Consumers go online to purchase a pointpath gift card in any dollar denomination from $20 to $500 at pointpathbank’s Web site, [http://www.pointpathbank.com][1]. The prepaid cards may be purchased by anyone and used at any merchant where Visa is accepted. The icon for the personalized greeting appears simultaneously on the gift card request screen, allowing customers to purchase a card electronically and craft a personal message. The request is processed by TSYS, then sent to the recipient loaded and activated for purchases via the Internet or at a brick-and-mortar merchant location.

About pointpathbank

pointpathbank, N.A. ([http://www.pointpathbank.com][2]) is the innovative Internet banking community for all online consumers, especially married and engaged couples, who are planning their financial lives. pointpath, based in Columbus, Ga., is the 39th bank and the first Internet only National bank in the Synovus family. It will offer a complete array of financial services designed to educate, advise and guide clients on the path toward financial independence from marriage to retirement and every milestone in between.

About TSYS

TSYS provides global commerce solutions. With more than 181 million accounts on file, TSYS facilitates the payment exchange between buyers and sellers. TSYS and its family of companies offer a full range of business services from credit application to collections and bankruptcy services for credit, debit, commercial, stored-value and retail accounts. Based in Columbus, Ga., TSYS ([http://www.totalsystem.com][3]) is an 80.8 percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. ([http://www.synovus.com][4]), No. 5 on FORTUNE magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” in 2000. For more information, contact news@totalsystem.com .

[1]: http://www.pointpathbank.com/
[2]: http://www.pointpathbank.com/
[3]: http://www.totalsystem.com/
[4]: http://www.synovus.com/

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Eire Consumers

Eire consumer attitudes are changing towards plastic payment cards. A new study of consumers in the Republic of Ireland concludes that even though Eire consumers, overall, are relatively conservative, they do respond to direct mail, especially to attractively-priced offers for balance transfers. According to the PSI Global study, Eire continues to be a cash and cheque-dominated payments market. Sixty-five percent of Eire adults own a payment card of some type. Sixty percent have “Immediate Payment Cards” (IP), which include ATM/cash cards and debit cards. Just 27% of consumers have “End of Month Cards” (EOM), which include revolving credit cards, deferred debit cards, charge cards and store/retail or private label cards. Plastic cardholders in Eire currently make an average of 11 transactions per month, eight cash withdrawals and three purchases. According to PSI Global, 94% of all cash withdrawals made with cards are via IP cards, and 71% of all card purchases are made with EOM cards.

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DHL MARS System

First Ecom.com, a global provider of electronic payment processing solutions, and DHL Worldwide Express, the world’s leading air express service, announced they have signed an agreement to jointly develop integrated services for electronic commerce applications in Asia.

![][1] Through this agreement, DHL and First Ecom will enable automatic settlement, or payment, of e-commerce transactions upon shipment of goods by online merchants that are using First Ecom Enabled banks. An interface will be created between First Ecom’s online Merchant Accounting and Reporting System (MARS) and DHL’s tracking system so that the shipment of authorized merchandise will automatically generate the request for settlement.

All First Ecom Enabled banks will have immediate access to this solution, saving them time and money since only one integration is needed. In addition, banks and customers benefit from the independent third party verification that the goods have been shipped, providing increased security and reducing the costs associated with fraud and chargebacks.

The system is designed to be convenient, secure, reliable, and require limited human intervention, making it efficient for banks, merchants, and customers.

“Our agreement with DHL further illustrates First Ecom’s dedication to provide the most secure and reliable e-payment solutions available,” said Harold Hutton, president and CEO of First Ecom. “This new solution expands the number of services offered to First Ecom Enabled banks and demonstrates our ability to integrate our payment gateway with leading companies in all areas of the e-commerce arena. We are excited to be partnering with DHL to provide a more complete e-commerce solution in Asia.”

“This payment settlement solution enhances our commitment to facilitate the growth of e-commerce in Asia by offering the most advanced services possible to our customers,” said Barry Lai, Director of Sales and Marketing of DHL International (Hong Kong) Limited. “We are continually looking for world-class technologies and are pleased to be working with First Ecom to provide this settlement solution.”

About DHL

DHL Worldwide Express is the world’s leading air express service, linking more than 85,000 destinations in 228 countries and territories. DHL has a fleet of over 260 aircraft. In Asia-Pacific / Middle East, DHL serves 51 countries and territories, operates about 1,300 stations, employs more than 18,000 personnel and owns about 3,900 transport vehicles. DHL Worldwide Express has a 40% market share of international express traffic as reported by the Air Cargo Management Group, Washington, USA.

In 1998, DHL Worldwide Express was named the “World’s Most Global Company” by Global Finance magazine for its excellence in global reach, vision and management strategies. DHL has been named “Best Express Service” for the past fourteen consecutive years at the Asian Freight Industry Awards and for the past six years has been voted as one of Asia’s Leading Companies in Far Eastern Economic Review’s Review 200 survey.

The DHL Worldwide Express network is composed of DHL International Limited, its subsidiaries and affiliates, which serve all locations outside the US and its territories; and DHL Airways, Inc., its subsidiaries and affiliates which serve all locations in the US and its territories.

Visit DHL on-line at .

About First Ecom.com

As a global provider of electronic payment processing, First Ecom.com provides secure, easy-to-implement and low-cost online payment processing services to banks and their merchants worldwide. Through strategic partnerships with banks, ISPs, e-commerce product suppliers, system integrators and storefront solution providers, First Ecom.com will process credit card transactions made over the Internet in multiple currencies, either domestically or offshore in a tax-neutral jurisdiction.

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

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Platinum Shell

The largest co-branded gasoline credit card program is going platinum. Chase Manhattan and Shell confirmed Tuesday they are gearing up to launch the ‘Shell Platinum Credit Card from Chase’. Under the program, cardholders will receive a 5% rebate on Shell gasoline purchases and a 1% rebate on all other purchases, with no cap on the amount of free gasoline that can be earned. Chase will offer a six-month 5.99% APR for purchases and balance transfers. There will be no annual fee for the first year. The fee is waived each year thereafter with nine Shell purchases. Chase said this morning that more than $450 million in Shell gasoline rebates have been earned by cardholders since the card’s launch in 1993.

CHASE CARD PORTFOLIO SNAPSHOT (as of June 30, 2000)
Receivables: $31,900,000,000 Active Accounts: 12,300,000
YTD Volume: $27,300,000,000 Gross Accounts: 19,900,000
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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Cashing-In Chips

San Francisco-based InnoVentry Corp. announced this morning it is selling its Entertainment Division to casino king Global Cash Access. Under the terms of the agreement, GCA will acquire the ‘Atreva Express’, ‘Atreva Credit Card Access’ and ‘Cash Center’ lines of products and services at more than 60 gaming establishments throughout the U.S. InnoVentry say it is selling the division to focus research and development, sales, and marketing efforts on the retail division of the business, which includes the ‘RPM’ check-cashing machines. The ‘RPM’ machines offer secure check cashing, utilizing advanced facial recognition technology to identify the customer. Over the past three years, more than two million checks have been cashed at InnoVentry’s ‘RPM’s nationwide for $450 million in cash dispensed volume. GCA is a joint venture of Bank of America, First Data and USA Processing and provides cash services at more than 1,200 casinos nationwide. InnoVentry is jointly owned by Wells Fargo and Cash America International.

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