AMEX World Golf

American Express today announced that it will provide a variety of special activities and customer services at the first event of the 2000 World Golf Championships, including a live webcast this week of the Tiger Woods Exhibition. In addition American Express cardmember services include, the American Express experience which is a concierge service, cardmember club hospitality tent on the tenth hole and a free gift with a $40 purchase.

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Smart Card Signatures

CyberSafe Corporation and Certicom today announced that they have formed a joint venture.

The new company will develop and market turnkey solutions that secure the payment systems for e-business applications by combining smart card-based user identity systems with digital signatures, using the existing payment system infrastructures. These solutions, available Q3 of this year, will benefit e-commerce merchants and customers by virtually eliminating the opportunity for on-line fraud and ensuring consumer privacy when using the Internet. Each company is contributing key technology, management expertise and start-up funding.

“This year, we expect to see a significant growth of smart card solutions in the market,” notes Steve Van Fleet, a senior vice president at First Data Corp, a leading electronic commerce and payment services provider internationally. “The latest smart card technologies and standards allow transactions to be communicated securely over the existing networks while ensuring the privacy and identity of the consumer. The combination of transaction security and identity protection should enable many new applications.”

The new e-business security solutions to be provided by the joint venture feature improved technology based on “real-world” business examples and are expected to be the first widely deployed implementations of on-line identity in payment systems. Specific expected benefits include:

— Ease of deployment because the approach uses as much of the existing payment infrastructure as possible —

Rapid start-up phase because enrollment uses the same process for account registration as that currently used in issuing credit cards

— Fraud reduction benefits which outweigh the cost of deployment

— Low cost smart cards, less data to transmit, and smaller signature size for storage based on the Certicom encryption technology used

— Options for `virtual smart cards’ which enable transition to hardware and lowers the per-user cost of on-line IDs and payment vehicles

— Limited infrastructure investments as compared to that of many public key-based solutions.

“The joint venture gives CyberSafe an opportunity to combine our strength in identity management with Certicom’s leadership in elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) and cost-effective smart cards to address a critical market need,” stated Jim Cannavino, CyberSafe Chairman and CEO. “Our customers in the financial industry have asked us to develop this technology, based on our activity in the X9 standards arena, as a solution to the fraud potential associated with current on-line use of credit cards.”

The products developed within the joint venture will be based on the draft ANSI X9.59 digital payments standard, and provide strong authentication, authorization, and accountability for financial institutions, internet service providers (ISPs) and application service providers (ASPs) and e-Commerce merchants. The technology also will provide easy to deploy and manage identity management systems, for privacy and integrity to on-line transactions.

“The solutions being developed through this venture are new products that will leverage the benefits of public key technology and smart cards with a practical approach to interfacing with legacy payment systems,” said Rick Dalmazzi, president and CEO of Certicom. “The partnership enables Certicom and CyberSafe to develop digital signature solutions that are extensible to the Internet, traditional point-of-sale environments, and the emerging world of wireless e-commerce.”

CyberSafe and Certicom were joined by First Data Corporation, Compaq Computer Corporation, Transaction Systems Architects (TSA) Corp., and InterWorld Corporation in announcing support for the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X9 digital payments standard in December. Formation of this joint venture is an important step towards commercial products and services in this area. Specifics from the joint venture on customer deployments, product availability and pricing are expected to be announced later this spring.

About CyberSafe

CyberSafe is a privately held corporation founded in 1991. Its award-winning TrustBroker(TM) Security Suite, Defensor(R), and Centrax(TM) product lines are designed to enable secure electronic business, while reducing administration costs. Leading investors in the company include Accel Partners, Deutsche Bank London, Financial Technology Ventures, OAK Investment Partners, and Polaris Venture Partners. CyberSafe is headquartered in Issaquah, Wash., and is on the World Wide Web at [http://www.cybersafe.com][1]. For additional information, please send requests to info@cybersafe.com.

About Certicom

Certicom is a leading provider of mobile e-business security technology used to build strong, fast, and efficient security solutions. Major computing and communications companies, such as 3Com/Palm Computing, BellSouth Wireless Data, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Pitney Bowes, QUALCOMM and VeriFone, incorporate Certicom’s technology into electronic commerce software, wireless messaging applications, and smart cards. Certicom is a leading source for a complete range of OEM security products and services, including cryptographic toolkits, custom implementations, and security integration services and consulting. Certicom’s worldwide sales and marketing operations are based in Hayward, California, with cryptographic research and product development in Toronto, Canada. Certicom shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “CIC.” For more information, visit Certicom’s Web site at [http://www.certicom.com][2].

CyberSafe, Defensor and the CyberSafe logo are registered trademarks of CyberSafe Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiaries. TrustBroker and Centrax are trademarks of CyberSafe Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiaries. Certicom, SSL Plus 3.0, and Security Builder are registered trademarks of Certicom Corp. All other companies and products listed herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

[1]: http://www.cybersafe.com/
[2]: http://www.certicom.com/

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EVIA 2000

Trintech Group PLC announced the launch of eVia 2000, the company’s latest range of electronic payment appliance designed for mobile payment environments. By incorporating wireless technology, the eVia 2000 meets the payment needs of a new breed of mobile merchants such as Taxis, Home Delivery operators, Public Transport carriers and Airlines.

The eVia 2000 includes the following features:

Payment Mobility: With its compact design, eVia 2000 is designed to allow merchants to accept transactions payments from any remote location.

Range of Communications: eVia is designed to accommodate the multitude of existing and next generation communication channels available to merchants, including standard telephony, ISDN, DECT (wireless-LAN environments), GSM and via the Internet.

Contemporary Design: Style matters. eVia 2000 is one of the most stylish ePOS appliances on the market with a variety of color options to meet the aesthetic requirements of each merchant location.

Multiple Card Types: eVia 2000 is designed to accept all payment card types, including credit, debit and smart cards, in one ergonomic unit.

Powered by PayWare Inside: eVia is powered by PayWare allowing the merchant to integrate a range of rich payment applications such as multi-currency, fuel and fleet, restaurant and tax options, mobile phone payment , etc.

Internet Enabled: eVia design is capable of Internet access with a micro-browser display and connection over standard Internet networks to the payment processor or specialized web services.

Compact size: The eVia 2000 offers merchants the most comprehensive range of payment applications with an ergonomic design that does not compromise the device’s key functions, such as card reading, graphic display, fast paper roll change and power management.

International Support: The PayWare Inside software solution is supported by a software development kit for international partners allowing them to certify the technology for local market use.

“The eVia 2000 mobile appliance addresses a significant and growing sector of the card payment market,” says John McGuire, CEO of Trintech. “Banks, merchants and consumers using eVia 2000 have few restrictions about payment locations and the product further exhibits Trintech’s capability in bring solutions to all locations of the cashless society.”

Trintech invites all to take an online multi-media tour of the eVia 2000 at www.trintech.com

Availability & Pricing eVia 2000 will be available Feburary 2000. Pricing for the eVia 2000 is available on request.

About Trintech

Founded in 1987, Trintech Group PLC is a leading provider of secure electronic payment infrastructure solutions for card-based transactions in the physical world and over the Internet. The company offers a complete range of payment software products for credit, debit, commercial and procurement card applications, as well as being a world leader in the deployment of payment solutions for Internet commerce that are fully SSL and SET? compliant. Trintech’s range of scalable open systems architecture solutions for UNIX® and Windows NT? platforms covers consumer, merchant and financial institution requirements for physical payments and the emerging world of electronic commerce. Trintech can be contacted in the U.S. at 2755 Campus Drive, San Mateo, CA 94003 (Tel: 650-227-7000) and in Ireland at Trintech Building, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18 (Tel: 353-1-207-4000). Trintech can be reached on the Web at http://www.trintech.com.

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TSYS Redesigned

Total System Services, Inc.announced the launching of its redesigned company Web site (http://www.totalsystem.com ). Unveiled officially on February 21, the improved format offers visitors an interactive look at one of the best companies to work for in America.

“We are excited about our new Web site because it offers our guests a more revealing look at who we are, what we do, our vision for the future and why we remain an industry leader,” said Philip W. Tomlinson, TSYS President. “We wanted the Web site to be a reflection of our company and our people in addition to providing information about our business.”

One major site improvement is the comprehensive investor relations section. The new investor relations pages includes stock quotes, detailed financials, archived news and SEC filings, all updated frequently. Using PR Newswire’s Virtual IQ, TSYS offers guests the latest interactive push technology. Visitors can register to receive TSYS press releases, closing stock prices, daily high and low stock price ranges, and current news headlines via email. Additionally, the new site has built-in navigational code that gives handicapped persons the ability to retrieve information into a text reader.

“On average, TSYS receives more than 9,000 hits to our site everyday, with our investor relations section being a major attraction. We feel the new Web site allows us to do a better job of sharing TSYS’ strong strategies for success with current and potential investors, as well as the entire investment community,” Tomlinson said.

Guests may access the investor relations section through the TSYS homepage at [http://www.totalsystem.com][1] or directly by typing [http://www.totalsystem.com/fi nance/index.htm][2].

About Total System Services, Inc.

TSYS provides global commerce solutions. With more than 207.9 million accounts on file, TSYS facilitates the payment exchange between buyers and sellers for 291 million consumers. Our systems capture and deliver more of the right information to our clients allowing them to make wiser business decisions yielding portfolio growth more than twice the industry average. TSYS and its family of companies offer 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][3]) is an 80.8 percent-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE: SNV) ([http://www.synovus.com][4]), No. 5 on FORTUNE magazine’s list of “The 100 Best Companies To Work For” in 2000.

[1]: http://www.totalsystem.com/
[2]: http://www.totalsystem.com/finance/index.htm
[3]: http://www.totalsystem.com/
[4]: http://www.synovus.com/

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MPS Buys Cartel

Fifth Third’s MPS subsidiary yesterday signed a definitive agreement to purchase NY-based IDTI and its ‘Cartel Network’. ‘Cartel’ was established in 1994 and processes for 73 member financial institutions and their 3.5 million cardholders nationwide. Through various reciprocal interchange, processing and marketing agreements, over 700 financial institutions have access to the network which is available at approximately 17,000 ATMs, POS terminals and point-of-banking terminals bearing the ‘Cartel Network’ logo at over 10,000 locations nationwide. Additionally, ‘Cartel’ has a strong ATM placement business with multi-location retailers, including Tops Friendly Markets, Wegmans, Price Chopper, Drug Emporium, Stewarts, Shoprite and Delta Sonic. ‘Cartel’ processes over one million transactions per month. MPS processes more than four billion ATM, POS and e-commerce transactions per year for more than 65,000 retail locations and financial institutions worldwide, including Federated Department Stores, The Kroger Co., Circuit City, Office Depot, and CompUSA. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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New Smart Card Book

Aneace Haddad, CEO of Welcome Real-time, a leading provider of loyalty software for chip cards, has authored a new book called: Using smart cards to gain market share.

Published by Gower, UK, the book develops the premise that the next generation of loyalty bank cards will offer a program that works day-to-day for the average consumer. Haddad asserts that early adopters with an aggressive business strategy will accrue the greatest benefits the opportunity to establish an original brand, lock-in partnerships with key service providers, gain market share and secure long-term competitive advantages.

Payment methods, smart cards and customer relationship marketing are all converging at the moment of purchase, transforming the relationships between consumers, merchants and bankers.

Early smart card pilots utilized single function cards, primarily e-purse applications. Today, the vast majority of financial institutions are considering multi-function smart card implementations combining a traditional, proven payment mechanism like credit with a customer loyalty function. Visa and MasterCard expect their member banks to complete the migration to smart cards by 2005, lending credence to Haddad s claim that loyalty applications are the next great business opportunity.

The author’s 15 years of experience in this area uniquely qualify him to guide companies to a better understanding of the business strategies related to multi-function smart cards and loyalty. a highly specialized industry with many risks, states Haddad. An early start combined with an aggressive business strategy is imperative to avoid being swept aside by the competition.

Loyalty programs enabled by smart card promise to bring new revenues and increased customer value to bank card issuers in the near future, says Allen Gilstrap, vice president, American Express and chairman of the Smart Card Forum. Aneace s work is invaluable in understanding the business drivers behind the launch of a successful loyalty program.

The book s cost is US$79.95. Copies may be obtained from Gower Publishing Direct Sales, Tel: 011-44-1235-827730; Fax: 011-44-1235-400454; email: orders@bookpoint.co.uk, or info@welcome-rt.com.

About the Author

Aneace Haddad is the founder & CEO of Welcome Real-time. Established in 1995 and based in the South of France, Welcome Real-time is a leading global supplier of loyalty software for smart cards. Mr. Haddad, originally from Boulder, Colorado, was Vice President R&D at oil and gas accounting software provider IMS, Inc. (Denver) in 1984. In 1986, he became Vice President of European Operations at point-of-sale software provider JPMA, Inc. (Denver). In 1990, Mr. Haddad joined Olivetti’s marketing department for retail automation solutions (Milan, Italy then Paris, France). In 1992, he founded Sinfonia Marketing Technologies, in Paris, France, and created “PromoCarte”, the world’s first smart-card based electronic coupon wallet. He is the author of two key smart card loyalty patents.

Mr. Haddad has experienced first hand the impact of smart cards on French society in general, and on merchants and bankers in particular. This experience, combined with his background as a US businessman and software engineer, has given him a unique view of where the industry is heading.

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EBPP Power

The recent acquisition of TransPoint by CheckFree may shift the center of power in the ‘Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment’ industry away from banks. CA-based Killen & Associates this morning predicted the acquisition will have huge ramifications on the banking industry since banks had hoped to slow the encroachment of high technology companies into the cash management, Internet banking, and payments markets as corporations issue bills and customers pay their bills using the Internet. Killen say this makes it impossible for banks and other players to play the two competitors against each other. CheckFree will buy TransPoint outright and as a result, Microsoft, First Data, and Citibank will own 23% of the company. The research firm says the ball started rolling when CheckFree announced its plans to purchase BlueGill. This event started a process in which CheckFree would gain a significant advantage over all bank-centric EBPP competitive approaches, certainly in the US market, and over other EBPP software and service providers’ solutions as well. Using BlueGill’s products, CheckFree would be able to offer solutions that start with the extraction of data from the biller legacy data file and end with customer payments. Since CheckFree can now get in at the beginning of an EBPP implementation, it also will be in a strong position to sell customers a full range of CheckFree products and services. Following the acquisition of TransPoint, CheckFree’s only serious EBPP competitor will be Spectrum which was founded by Chase, First Union and Wells Fargo. Killen concludes that CheckFree and Spectrum could become the new VISA and MasterCard of EBPP, assuming no other group emerges to challenge them.

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Level Charge-offs

Bank credit card charge-offs, among $307 billion of card-backed securities, were stable again in January 2000, according to Standard & Poor’s ‘Credit Card Quality Indexes’. Since July 1999, the monthly charge-off rate has declined or remained steady at 5.7%. Charge-offs have stabilized in the 6.0% area since the summer of 1998. However, the increase in delinquencies, although modest, suggests that upticks in charge-offs could be forthcoming. Credit quality performance was mixed among issuers in January. Most of the major trusts experienced modest increases in reported charge-off levels. Of the five largest master trusts, three reported declines or no change, while two experienced slightly higher losses. Specifically, Discover Card Master Trust’s loss rate dropped by 40 bps, to 5.4%, and Citibank Master Credit Card Trust’s losses declined for a second consecutive month to 3.9%.

STANDARD & POOR’S CREDIT CARD QUALITY INDEXES
Performance month Jan 98 Jan 99 Nov 99 Dec 99 Jan 00
Outstandings ($bil) 244.3 272.8 303.8 312.7 306.6
Yield (%) 18.7 19.4 19.5 19.9 18.9
Charge-offs (%) 6.6 6.1 5.7 5.7 5.7
Weighted base rate (%) 7.9 7.4 7.6 8.3 7.7
Excess spread (%) 4.1 5.9 6.2 5.7 5.5
Delinquencies (%) 5.7 5.1 4.8 4.6 4.7
Payment rate (%) 15.3 15.9 16.0 16.7 16.4

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Class Action Debit Lawsuit

Yesterday, a federal judge certified the retailer’s debit card lawsuit against VISA and MasterCard as a class action. The lawsuit, originally filed by Wal-Mart, Sears and eleven other retailers, contends retailers are victims of an illegal tying arrangement, under which merchants are forced to accept ‘VISA Check’ and ‘MasterMoney’ debit cards. VISA and MasterCard’s off-line debit cards require considerably higher merchant fees than competing online debit cards offered by regional networks. Yesterday’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson means the plaintiffs will represent the interests of more than four million U.S. retailers. The Wal-Mart lawsuit seeks treble damages and various forms of injunctive relief. Actual damages under the lawsuit have been estimated at more than $8 billion which translates into a possible $24 billion exposure for VISA and MasterCard members. Contrary to some press reports, the Wal-Mart case and the on-going DOJ antitrust litigation involving duality are separate and distinct legal actions. In January of this year, U.S. District Judge John Gleeson, ruled the DOJ could access the Wal-Mart case counsels’ analyses of three million discovery documents provided by VISA and MasterCard. However there has been no effort to merge the actions. In February of 1999, the FTC referred its investigation into potentially anti competitive practices in the debit card industry to the DOJ. Reportedly the DOJ debit investigation remains active. This morning, CardWeb.com’s CEO, Robert McKinley, is scheduled to be deposed by VISA, MasterCard and DOJ attorneys in the duality case. McKinley previously testified in the 1992 VISA-MountainWest (Discover) antitrust trial as an expert witness for VISA. The DOJ duality trial is set for June of this year.

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Associated Sells

WI-based Associated Banc-Corp announced Wednesday it has signed agreements to sell its $130 million credit card portfolio to Citibank. The agreement also calls for a long-term agency agreement between the two parties. The portfolio involves 300,000 cardholders. The transaction is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2000. Associated expects to recognize a gain of approximately $12 million from the sale. Associated Bank ‘VISA Check’ cards, business/corporate cards, merchant card services and ‘HomePower’ home equity cards are unaffected by the arrangement with Citibank.

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FirstPay.Net

First American Payment Systems, Inc. today announced the release of FirstPay.Net, a proprietary e-commerce payment gateway.

First American Payment Systems, Inc. recognized a market necessity for real-time transaction processing of credit cards for small- to medium-sized companies. Large retailers often create custom e-commerce systems that integrate with their inventory and shipping departments. Realizing the need for flexibility in a standardized e-commerce product, First American created FirstPay.Net.

“We felt that existing e-commerce payment gateways do not meet the market’s needs. So, we built a proprietary e-commerce payment solution that facilitates credit card transactions with simple implementation into a merchant’s Web site,” said Neil L. Randel, president and chief executive officer. “We maintain the e-commerce payment servers at our Fort Worth, Texas corporate facility, which gives us a tremendous advantage over other merchant acquirers in that we control the Internet payment gateway.”

FirstPay.Net is the affordable e-commerce payment solution for small- to medium-sized businesses. It allows real-time credit card payment processing through the merchant’s Web site, provides detailed transaction reporting and limits Internet hosting fees. Employing state-of-the-art technology, FirstPay.Net incorporates virtual terminal technology and can be used with most shopping cart products.

FirstPay.Net’s advanced security measures include SSL encryption technology and other leading edge security protocols to protect consumers and merchants. It also offers firewall protection and password security to view transactions. A specialized error protection component ensures consumers enter complete and accurate information.

“Security is everyone’s concern on the Internet. FirstPay.Net was developed with security as a top priority,” Randel said.

To introduce FirstPay.Net to the industry, First American Payment Systems plans to debut its new product at the Electronic Transactions Association annual meeting and exposition March 7 through 10 in Las Vegas.

First American Payment Systems, Inc., a privately owned corporation founded in 1990, provides full-service electronic credit card authorization and payment systems to retail, mail order, telephone order, Internet and home-based merchants throughout the United States. First American Payment Systems also offers retail ATM deployment services, Secur-Chex(TM) check guarantee services, FirstPay.Net e-commerce solution and Merimac Capital electronic payment equipment leasing.

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PocketCard Deal

TeleServices Internet Group Inc., known as TSIG.com, yesterday announced that it has reached an agreement with PocketCard, a new, high-tech VISA card designed especially for the young. Under the agreement, PocketCard will be available to TSIG.com’s myMusicCard and myPhotoCard customers, allowing young people to make purchases while parents maintain control over spending limits.

PocketCard looks like and is accepted like a VISA card, but has unique features designed for the Internet user. The ‘sponsor,’ normally a parent or guardian, first sets up a virtual account with PocketCard. After the account is established, the sponsor can transfer funds in real-time, using any touch-tone phone or web browser. All transactions are reported in real-time, so that all purchases can be viewed on the card’s transaction history at the PocketCard.com web site.

“Kids are among the biggest buyers of music and film processing, so PocketCard is the perfect partner for TSIG.com’s myMusicCard and myPhotoCard programs,” noted Robert P. Gordon, Chairman and CEO. Pocket Card is the most convenient way for parents to establish accounts for their kids, to monitor their purchases, and to teach them responsible spending habits.”

About PocketCard

“PocketCard, the smart way to carry money” enables leading web sites to offer co-branded VISA cards to high-school and college students, employees and other under-served customer groups. PocketCard uses patent-pending technology to power these cards with real-time funding, reporting and control. This allows people who might not otherwise own a major payment card to have the full purchasing power, convenience and independence enjoyed by others. It also provides participating web sites with a powerful branding tool for strengthening customer relationships. Co-Branded VISA PocketCards are accepted at all online sites, and throughout the bricks and mortar world. The company’s web site is at [www.pocketcard.com][1].

About TSIG.com

Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, TSIG.com created the My MusicCard program ([http://www.mymusiccard.com][2]) to enable consumers to purchase CDs and cassettes at the lowest prices, and to develop revenue-generating programs with corporations and non-profit organizations that drive consumers to customers’ Internet sites for the lowest cost in the industry. Similarly, TSIG.com’s My PhotoCard programs provide the lowest cost film processing and Kodak film. These unique marketing programs provide high margin returns and develop strong brand loyalty and awareness within target communities. TSIG.com also provides customer service and support with its web-based call center and related services.

[1]: http://www.pocketcard.com/
[2]: http://www.mymusiccard.com/

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