TSYS Gets Advance

Total System Services, Inc. announced the signing of a multi-year contract to provide commercial card processing services for Advance Auto Parts, the second largest automotive retailer in the United States. The accounts were converted to TSYS’ TS1 Processing System in second quarter 2000.

Advance Auto Parts utilizes full turnkey services through the Synovus Financial Corp. family of companies for every component of its commercial business. TSYS furnishes the commercial card processing portion. TSYS Total Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of TSYS, provides collections and customer service. Synovus Technologies, Inc., and Columbus Bank and Trust, subsidiaries of Synovus Financial Corp., render remittance processing and funding of receivables, respectively.

“Advance Auto Parts is the first client to fully realize the broad spectrum of services that the Synovus Financial Corp. family of companies offers its business customers. We will work vigorously to build a valuable partnership with Advance, and we’re eager to identify more opportunities to offer these end-to-end solutions for other retailers and in other sectors,” said James H. Blanchard, chairman and CEO of Synovus Financial Corp.

“Advance Auto Parts has established itself as an industry leader by staying focused on providing excellent customer service, brand-name parts and convenient locations. Services such as our TS1 Processing System and the customer contact center solutions provided by Total Solutions help Advance keep focused on their customers,” said Richard W. Ussery, chairman of the board and CEO of TSYS. “We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Advance.”

“One of the keys to Advance Auto Parts’ success is an unwavering commitment to excellence from ourselves and the organizations who help us serve our customers,” said Advance Auto Parts CEO Larry Castellani. “We feel confident that our business will only continue to grow under the care and supervision of TSYS and Synovus, who share that same commitment.”

About Advance Auto Parts

Advance Auto Parts is the primary trade name for Advance Stores Company Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Advance Holding Corporation. Established in 1932 with three stores in Virginia, Advance now has more than 1,700 stores in 38 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The company is based in Roanoke, Va., and is the second largest auto parts chain in the nation. Additional information about the company, employment opportunities and services can be found on the company web site at [http://www.advanceautoparts.com][1].

About Total System Services, Inc.

TSYS provides global commerce solutions. With more than 181 million accounts on file, TSYS facilitates the payment exchange between buyers and sellers for approximately 253.4 million consumers. Our systems capture and deliver more of the right information to our clients that allows them to make wiser business decisions, currently yielding portfolio growth more than twice the industry average. TSYS and its family of companies offers a full range of business services, from credit application to collections, allowing our clients to focus on building their brands while we focus on safety, security, ease and convenience. Based in Columbus, Ga., TSYS ([http://www.totalsystem.com][2]) is an 80.8-percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: “SNV”) ([http://www.synovus.com][3]), No. 5 on FORTUNE magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” in 2000.

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


Chen Joins HNC Board

HNC Software Inc. Monday announced that David Chen has become a member of the company’s board of directors.

Chen joins HNC’s existing board which includes: Edward Chandler of Graystone Venture Partners LLC.; Thomas Farb of Summit Partners; Charles H. Gaylord Jr., a private technology advisor; Alex Hart, an independent consultant to the financial services industry and former CEO of Advanta Corp. and MasterCard International, and John Mutch, HNC’s president and chief executive officer.

Chen is managing partner of The Ascent Group, a management consulting firm that specializes in customer service operations and improvement, performance benchmarking, competitive benchmarking, work management and market research. At The Ascent Group Chen was pivotal in guiding Microsoft, Intel, Wireless Knowledge, Bell Atlantic, Fujitsu, and other companies.

Chen is also the co-founder and CEO of GeoTrust, an Internet infrastructure supplier of trust services to online communities, exchanges and eMarkets. Additionally, he is a venture partner with Olympic Venture Partners, a leading venture capital firm in the Pacific Northwest.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome someone of David Chen’s talent and experience to our board,” said Mutch. “His guidance and strategic direction in critical areas of our business will be invaluable to us as we continue to expand our markets and our intelligent software portfolios.”

About HNC Software Inc.

Headquartered in San Diego, HNC Software Inc. (Nasdaq:HNCS) is a leading provider of predictive software solutions for the services industry, including financial, telecommunications, insurance and Internet commerce. HNC’s suite of predictive software solutions can provide real-time insight into customer relationships based on transaction-level data, helping companies manage their relationships with individual customers. By accurately predicting customer behaviors, these companies can create initiatives to mitigate risk and attrition; improve customer service; develop marketing programs to enhance profitability, and detect fraudulent customer transactions. For more information, visit HNC’s Web site at [http://www.hnc.com][1] or contact Melinda Bateman, HNC Software Inc., 5935 Cornerstone Court West, San Diego, CA 92121, 858/799-3880. For the investor relations’ hotline, call 800/396-8052.

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


Coinstar Cards

Coinstar confirmed Monday it is looking to explore opportunities to deliver prepaid cash cards through its nationwide network of more than 7,500 Coinstar machines. Towards that end, Coinstar will work with Canada’s DataWave Systems which has dispensed more than four million prepaid phone cards to consumers over the past three years. DataWave is expanding into the prepaid cash card market with the assistance of card issuer Michigan National Bank. Both firms see prepaid cash cards as the wave of the future for Internet shopping and as the basis for payment systems for teenagers. Last year alone, the market for these cards exceeded $3 billion. DataWave expects the market for prepaid cards will exceed $8 billion within three years.


Exclusive Olympic Deal

NBC/Quokka Ventures announced that VISA has become a Masters Gold Advertiser of [http://www.nbcolympics.com][1], the home to NBC’s online coverage of the 2000 Olympics. NBC/Quokka Ventures is a joint venture between NBC and Quokka Sports. Through this agreement, VISA will receive a comprehensive advertising package that will take advantage of the dynamic content and traffic that is being generated by the site. NBCOlympics.com is part of NBC’s overall strategy to deliver the complete Olympic experience across a variety of mediums including Network, Cable, and Internet.

As part of the agreement, VISA will be the exclusive credit card designated throughout and at the point of checkout at the NBCOlympics.com US Olympic Store, produced in partnership with the USOC, guaranteeing that all e-commerce transactions taking place at the NBCOlympics.com US Olympic Store will be VISA transactions. In addition, VISA will receive product exclusivity in the payment system category, a number of branding opportunities in the NBCOlympics.com masthead and other areas throughout the site, presence in the advertiser pavilion and prominent positioning in the synchronized swimming and track & field sections. VISA will also be the presenting sponsor of the NBCOlympics.com US Olympic Store.

As well, NBCOlympics.com will create customized content using the pioneering “Brand Immersion” marketing approach developed by Quokka Sports. “Brand Immersion” is an extension of Quokka’s unique method of immersive storytelling that attempts to connect brands to site content.

“We are pleased to be joining NBCOlympics.com to bring an even wider audience closer to the Games than ever before,” said Liz Silver, senior vice president, advertising at VISA. “We are expanding our commitment and support of the Olympics by sharing NBCOlympics.com’s vision of creating a whole new digital experience for viewers who log onto the Internet.”

“This marketing alliance with VISA is supporting our efforts to change the way that Internet users will experience the Olympics and to provide comprehensive coverage of the Games for NBC,” said Tom Newell, general manager, NBC/Quokka Ventures.

About NBC/Quokka Ventures

NBC/Quokka Ventures, LLC was formed in February 1999 as a joint venture of NBC Olympics and Quokka Sports (Nasdaq: QKKA) to produce [http://www.nbcolympics.com][2], the home for NBC’s online coverage of the Olympic Games. [http://www.nbcolympics.com][3], presented in concert with NBC’s television and cable programming, provides viewers with enhanced coverage of the Olympic Games and the athletes who, over the course of a four-year season, compete for spots at the world’s most prestigious sports competition. Unique to [http://www.nbcolympics.com][4] is Athlete’s Voice, a mainstay of the coverage where some of the world’s elite athletes provide ongoing first-person accounts of the trials, tribulations and successes of training and competing. Through email, online diaries, audio and other digital media, the competitors offer fans an emotional look into their individual experiences. Today, coverage on [http://www.nbcolympics.com][5] includes coverage of all 35 Olympic events, from qualifying events to features on the events and the athletes who compete in them. Once the Olympic Games begin, [http://www.nbcolympics.com][6] will offer digital media coverage of the Sydney Olympics, running 15 September 2000 through 2 October 2000.

Quokka and Quokka Sports are registered trademarks and QNews, What Happens Next, Sports Entertainment for the Digital World and the Quokka Logos are trademarks of Quokka Sports, Inc.

[1]: http://www.nbcolympics.com/
[2]: http://www.nbcolympics.com/
[3]: http://www.nbcolympics.com/
[4]: http://www.nbcolympics.com/
[5]: http://www.nbcolympics.com/
[6]: http://www.nbcolympics.com/


The Chase Suite

Chase Merchant Services has launched ‘eWEBuilder’, ‘Bolt on Store’ and ‘eAPPLY’. The product suite of e-commerce solutions provides businesses with the ability to develop their Internet presence, expand their current Web initiatives and/or provide e-commerce solutions to their clients. ‘eWEBuilder’, based on kinzan.com’s e-business platform, including a brandable suite of content management and e-commerce applications, and the ‘ClearCommerce Engine’, empowers businesses to create and manage their own Web site or virtual store. ‘Bolt on Store’ was developed in response to requests from businesses for a way to add an online store with payment processing and a secure payment gateway to their Web Site. ‘eAPPLY’ is a solution for automating the application process for an Internet merchant account in which merchants are risk scored and notified of their application status within 24 to 48 hours.


eBillit Inc

Integretel, Inc. announced the formation of a new subsidiary, eBillit, Inc. The new Internet company will exclusively offer Integretel’s proprietary billing and collection capabilities designed specifically for providers of Internet access, Internet telephony, eCommerce, and enhanced Internet services.

eBillit is positioned at the forefront of this new arena with a suite of innovative service solutions tailor-made for Internet providers. eBillit’s proprietary Internet billing applications, coupled with Integretel’s proven service bureau expertise, empowers providers with alternate payment options on a complete outsource basis.

“The demand from Internet providers for our PhoneBill, DirectBill, and WebBill services is substantial and deserves eBillit’s dedicated focus,” said Joe Lynam, CEO of Integretel. “Best of all, with eBillit, providers can quickly deploy comprehensive billing solutions with minimal, if any, development work.”

With the ability to bill on the consumer’s phone bill in greater than 90% of the households in the U.S. and Canada, eBillit provides a compelling alternative to credit cards and electronic funds transfer. Providers will be pleased to know eBillit can bill a wide variety of services and content using the three billing methods. Examples include everything from music downloads, to monthly CLEC charges, Internet access, voice, video and data billed online via the Web, direct, or on the consumer’s phone bill.

About eBillit

eBillit Corporation is positioned to be the leading outsourced billing and collection ASP for the providers of Internet access, Internet telephony, eCommerce and enhanced Internet services. The company offers a suite of next generation billing services and surrounding support services including AR financing, online reporting, real-time fraud control, customer care inquiry and collection capabilities. eBillit is headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley and will serve clientele worldwide.

About Integretel

Integretel provides industry leading outsourced billing services to the telecommunication, Internet, wireless, and utility markets. Founded in 1988, the company created one of the industry’s first service bureaus offering complete Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) billing and collection services. Integretel’s billing and collection agreements cover every major ILEC and over 1,400 smaller independent phone companies. Integretel is located San Jose, California.



First Ecom.com , a global provider of electronic payment processing systems, announced that it has received approval from NASDAQ for a National Market System Listing of its common stock.

First Ecom expects its common stock to begin trading on June 6 under an unchanged ticker symbol, “FECC.”

“We’re delighted to announce our full national market listing,” said Gregory Pek, president and CEO of First Ecom.com. “This will bring greater visibility to our stock and allow us to respond to the growing amount of institutional interest we have been receiving.”

“First Ecom began operations in February 1999 and to has received full NASDAQ listing only 16 months later is a significant accomplishment,” added Pek. “This is an exciting time for First Ecom and I want to thank my management team and all our employees for their extraordinary efforts over the past year.”

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.


Providian Online Record

Providian Financial has reached the $1 billion mark in Internet-sourced deposits. This milestone is a reflection of both the Company’s growing popularity among consumers shopping for the most competitive Certificate of Deposit and Money Market Demand Account products, and its success in delivering a superior customer experience online.

A key element of Providian’s success in attracting deposits online is the state-of-the-art Web site at [http://www.providian.com][1]. Customer-focused design and the latest technology come together to make opening and managing an account simple and fast. In fact, Providian is one of the few companies that allows customers to open an account, authorize funds to be transferred to a CD or an MMDA, and renew an account, all online.

“We are very pleased with how highly our customers regard Providian’s Internet-based deposit products and service,” said Jody Bhagat, senior vice president of e-commerce for Providian. “Our strength in key areas that influence customer decision-making regarding deposit products positions us for continued success. We will maintain our leading online presence by continuing to innovate and offer high-yield products that attract customers looking for a safe way to get a high-rate return.”

“The robust growth in Internet-sourced deposits reflects Providian’s commitment to e-commerce and is helping us build a strong Web-based consumer franchise,” said Jim Rowe, executive vice president and head of e-commerce for Providian. “The numbers indicate that a business strategy based on providing high-value and exceptional customer service can be just as successful online as offline.”

San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation ([http://www.providian.com][2]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers throughout the United States and also offers credit cards in the United Kingdom. The sixth largest bankcard issuer in the U.S., Providian Financial was recently named one of America’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine, and the nation’s top financial institution by US Banker magazine.

Providian serves a broad, diversified market with loan products including credit cards, secured cards, certificates of deposit and membership products. With a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, Providian helps customers build or rebuild, protect and responsibly use credit. Providian has more than $27 billion in assets under management and over 13 million customers.

[1]: http://www.providian.com/
[2]: http://www.providian.com/


VISA Certificates

VISA International has selected Dublin, Ireland-based Baltimore Technologies’ secure web access solution to provide the infrastructure necessary to secure, protect and authenticate online payment transactions for member banks, their customers, and online merchants worldwide. This Baltimore secure web access solution enables VISA to operate its own digital certificate management system and issue VISA-branded digital certificates. VISA said this morning that validating a digital certificate is the electronic equivalent of a consumer looking for the VISA acceptance flag in a merchant’s store window, or a merchant checking the consumer’s signature on the back of a VISA card.


Mag-Teck ACE

Mag-Tek Inc., an internationally known check reader and card reader manufacturer since 1972, recently secured a contract with ACE Cash Express Inc., with headquarters in Irving, Texas, for the integration of 1,600 IntelliPIN PINpad units in all company-owned locations.

Founded in 1968, ACE Cash Express, the largest owner, operator and franchiser of check-cashing stores in the United States, presently has 885 company-owned retail locations and 159 franchised stores in 32 states offering a broad range of financial and check-cashing services.

ACE is also one of the largest agents of MoneyGram wire transfer transactions, and provides money orders, small consumer loans, bill payment services and prepaid local and long-distance telecommunication services.

ACE will utilize the Mag-Tek IntelliPIN, a combination PINpad and triple-track magnetic stripe card reader, to provide immediate and secure PIN selection and validation. This technology will serve as a platform for providing an array of electronic financial transactions for ACE customers.

The magnetic stripe of driver’s licenses can also be read with the IntelliPIN’s triple-track card reader. The IntelliPIN can also be used for PIN validation at POS locations. Account information can be automatically retrieved for viewing, and transactions can be processed with the IntelliPIN.

For customer identification and verification, ACE also issues an ACE Plus Gold card. For this application, ACE is presently utilizing two models of Mag-Tek’s MICR check reader with card reader for identifying customers by swiping the ACE Plus Gold card through the card reader and verifying checks with the MICR check reader. Mag-Tek ([www.magtek.com][1]) manufactures an ever-expanding line of magnetic stripe and smart card readers, encoders, motorized readers and MICR check readers for financial institutions, retailers and OEMs. Mag-Tek also offers comprehensive solutions for customer-selected PINs and ATM card activation.

Mag-Tek has headquarters in Carson, with sales offices throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, along with international distribution networks in more than 40 countries.

Mag-Tek technology is used in millions of financial and point-of- sale (POS) transactions utilizing debit cards, credit cards and checks, at banks and other financial businesses, retail checkouts, automated gas pumps, kiosks, pay phones and airplane seat phones throughout the world. For more information on the IntelliPIN or other Mag-Tek products, call 888/624-8350 or visit [www.magtek.com][2].

[1]: http://www.magtek.com/
[2]: http://www.magtek.com/


May Sales

May same-store retail sales rose 4.0% over the same period last year, despite one less shopping weekend this year and higher interest rates, according to data compiled and released this morning by TeleCheck Services. The Mid-Atlantic region led the nation, followed by the Southwest, the Northeast, the West and Midwest (tied) and the Southeast. The Mid-Atlantic was up 4.3%, with sales rising 5.0% in Maryland, 4.6% in New Jersey, 4.0% in Pennsylvania and 3.6% in Virginia. Sales rose 4.5% in Philadelphia, 4.2% in Baltimore, 3.6% in Pittsburgh and 3.3% in the District of Columbia.