Same-Store Sales Rose

Although winter storms along the east coast slightly dampened sales for some retailers, nationwide same-store sales for January rose a strong 4.6 percent over the same period last year, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc., the world’s leading check acceptance company. The Midwest region led the nation, followed by the West, the Southwest, the Southeast, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. 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 210,000 subscribing locations. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based First Data Corp.

“The strong January sales gain reflects the ongoing strength of the U.S. economy. Along with record low levels of unemployment and rising household incomes, consumer confidence and spending are also being bolstered by a strong stock market,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Advisor.

Sales in the Midwest climbed a robust 5.5 percent, with Illinois up 5.9 percent, Michigan up 5.8 percent, Wisconsin up 5.7 percent and Ohio and Minnesota both up 5.0 percent. Sales grew by 6.1 percent in Chicago, 5.5 percent in Milwaukee, 5.2 percent in Minneapolis/St. Paul, 5.4 percent in Cleveland and 5.6 percent in Detroit.

The West was up 5.1 percent with sales increasing 6.2 percent in Hawaii, 5.3 percent in Washington, 4.8 percent in California, 4.7 percent in Colorado, 4.6 percent in Arizona and 4.4 percent in Oregon. Sales rose 5.2 percent in Denver, 4.9 percent in both San Diego and Seattle, 4.8 percent in Los Angeles, 4.6 percent in the Bay Area, 4.5 percent in Portland and 4.2 percent in Phoenix.

In the Southwest, sales jumped 4.8 percent. Missouri climbed 5.4 percent, Oklahoma 4.9 percent and Texas 4.6 percent. Sales grew 5.8 percent in St. Louis, 5.1 percent in Oklahoma City, 5.0 percent in both Austin and Kansas City and 4.9 percent in Tulsa. In other Texas cities, sales rose 4.7 percent in San Antonio, 4.6 percent in Houston and 4.3 percent in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Sales rose 4.1 percent in the Southeast, with Louisiana up 4.9 percent and both Florida and Tennessee up 4.7 percent. Hit by inclement weather mid-month, Georgia rose a modest 3.3 percent and The Carolinas were up 3.1 percent. Sales increased 5.2 percent in Orlando, 4.9 percent in Tampa, 4.8 percent in Nashville, 4.5 percent in both Memphis and New Orleans, 4.4 percent in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and 3.1 percent in Atlanta.

The Mid-Atlantic’s sales increased 3.9 percent. Pennsylvania’s sales grew 4.8 percent, New Jersey’s rose 4.1 percent, Virginia was up 3.6 percent and Maryland’s sales increased 3.1 percent. Pittsburgh saw sales jump 4.8 percent, while both the District of Columbia and Philadelphia experienced 4.5 percent sales gains and Baltimore’s sales grew 3.4 percent.

The Northeast region grew by 3.4 percent. Sales rose 3.7 percent in Massachusetts and 3.0 percent in New York State. Boston’s sales increased by 3.9 percent and New York City’s sales were up 3.5 percent.

TeleCheck’s index is compiled on a calendar basis and is based on the total sales volume of check-writing consumers at a broad cross-section of retailers. Figures are not adjusted for inflation. Checks account for approximately one-third of retail spending. In 1998, TeleCheck authorized over $112 billion in checks and processed more than 2.2 billion check inquiries.

Atlanta-based First Data Corp. helps move the world’s money. As the leader in electronic commerce and payment services, First Data serves more than two million merchant locations, 1,400 card issuers and millions of consumers, making it easier, faster and more secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services. For more information, please visit the company’s web site at .

Dr. William Ford holds the Weatherford Chair of Finance at Middle Tennessee State University. Earlier in his career he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and served on former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker’s Federal Open Market Committee.

Retail Sales
(Period: 01/01/00-01/31/00)
February 3, 2000


Florida 4.7% Arizona 4.6% Illinois 5.9%
Ft. Lauderdale 4.4% Phoenix 4.2% Chicago 6.1%
Orlando 5.2% California 4.8% Michigan 5.8%
Tampa 4.9% Bay Area 4.6% Detroit 5.6%
Louisiana 4.9% Los Angeles 4.8% Minnesota 5.0%
New Orleans 4.5% San Diego 4.9% Minneapolis/
St. Paul 5.2%
Georgia 3.3% Oregon 4.4% Wisconsin 5.7%
Atlanta 3.1% Portland 4.5% Milwaukee 5.5%
Tennessee 4.7% Washington 5.3% Ohio 5.0%
Memphis 4.5% Seattle 4.9% Cleveland 5.4%
Nashville 4.8% Colorado 4.7%
The Carolinas 3.1% Denver 5.2% MID-ATLANTIC 3.9%
Hawaii 6.2% District of
Columbia 4.5%
SOUTHWEST 4.8% Pennsylvania 4.8%
Texas 4.6% NORTHEAST 3.4% Philadelphia 4.5%
Austin 5.0% Massachusetts 3.7% Pittsburgh 4.8%
Dallas/Ft. Worth 4.3% Boston 3.9% New Jersey 4.1%
Houston 4.6% New York 3.0% Virginia 3.6%
San Antonio 4.7% New York City 3.5% Maryland 3.1%
Missouri 5.4% Baltimore 3.4%
Kansas City 5.0%

St. Louis 5.8%
Oklahoma 4.9%
Oklahoma City 5.1%
Tulsa 4.9%


First USA President/CFO

Bank One Corporation has appointed of Anthony F. Vuoto as president and chief operating officer of First USA, the Corporation’s credit card subsidiary. He will oversee the operating units, including customer service, customer support and credit operations. Vuoto will report directly to William P. Boardman, chairman and chief executive officer of First USA. Boardman will continue to oversee marketing, systems, credit policy and, as well as the company’s staff units, which include finance, strategic planning, human resources and legal.


DataCard Name Executives

Datacard Group today announced it has named three senior executives to new leadership positions within the company. Elaine Bliss, Paul Schroeder and Roger Sigler have been selected for key management positions as the company launches new, worldwide strategies for its core card issuance and identity management businesses. Datacard Group provides plastic card personalization and identity management solutions with fully integrated systems for a variety of financial, identification and healthcare applications.


Sucessful Pathways

The Pathways Group, Inc. a world leader in smart card technology, announced today that its highly successful cash-free midway pilot program with Funtastic Traveling Shows has lead to a new agreement authorizing Funtastic to use Pathways’ smart card system during its Spring 2000 West Coast tour. With the launch of Pathways’ newest smart card system last October in San Francisco, Funtastic became the first carnival anywhere in the United States to introduce a cash-free midway using smart card technology. According to the latest rankings by Amusement Business, Funtastic is the seventh largest carnival operator in the US, hosting nearly 2,000,000 attendees at two West Coast fairs in the winter quarter of 1999. The new contract calls for Funtastic to purchase thousands of additional Pathways’ smart cards as well as other equipment and support services. Pathways will enhance its smart card software based on feedback received during the pilot program. The cash-free payment system is an intellectual property of The Pathways Group, Inc.; U.S. patent applications are pending. Pathways’ smart card system replaces the paper tickets typically used for rides and games on midways. “Using our system, Funtastic customers purchase cards encrypted with cash amounts in increments of their own choosing,” explained Monte Strohl, Pathways’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Terminals installed at each of the rides, games and concession booths accept the midway card and perform purchase transactions in a matter of seconds.” Features and Benefits Key features and benefits of Pathways’ cash-free midway smart card system include:

— One card for every attraction — No more worry about lost money or tickets — Cards conveniently fit into pockets — No long hours of counting small bills and coins — Simplified end-of-day cash-outs — Reports on earned revenue generated in minutes — Eliminate skimming on the midway — Faster collections (5-10 minutes) on games, rides and concessions — Pay-one-price promotions — Cards can be branded with advertising and collectible artwork Embracing the Technology

Recent articles appearing in amusement industry publications have addressed the many positive benefits that Pathways’ cash-free payment system offers fair and carnival operators. “We now have a tested, proven and highly cost-effective cash-free midway system that we believe fair and carnival owners will find extremely attractive,” said Carey Daly, Founder, President and CEO of Pathways. “Our smart card technology can add significant features and benefits to numerous applications in many previously untapped markets. We are actively exploring a variety of opportunities to respond to the needs of the marketplace with our smart card solutions.”

Unattended Ticketing

Long-range plans for Funtastic could include replacing ticket booths and sellers with unattended ticketing dispensers. SPRINTICKET(TM), Pathways’ unattended dispensing device, would allow Funtastic customers to purchase midway smart cards using a credit card or cash. The kiosks could also be used to read card balances and to recharge, or add value to, a card. Pathways’ SPRINTICKET dispensers are becoming widely accepted in various unattended ticketing applications across the United States, specifically amusement parks, ski resorts and ferry boat services.

Funtastic Traveling Shows, based in Portland, Oregon, operates carnivals in Washington, Oregon and California, averaging 70 shows per year at shopping centers, fairs and other venues.

The Pathways Group, Inc., a world leader in smart card technology, provides clients with innovative, secure, individually tailored solutions for capturing and processing data and electronic transactions, with particular focus on Chip Card technology as it is applied to the Worldwide Web.

Founded in 1987, Pathways is today a leading developer of smart card applications offering clients custom software and hardware solutions for electronic banking, e-business and transaction processing. Pathways’ proprietary back office systems coupled with their long standing core competencies in electronic transaction processing, allow clients to efficiently capture and process data, and transfer funds via “ACH” protocol. This protocol is the De Facto standard for the Banking Industry, used for funds transfer in retail, medical and institutional environments.


TCF Debit Rewards

TCF Financial Corporation announced it is launching the TCF Express Phone Card, a loyalty and reward program exclusively for users of the free TCF Check Card. TCF is taking a unique departure from this approach with the introduction of a rewards program for their debit card-The TCF Check Card. This innovative new program allows TCF customers to earn free MCI WorldCom long-distance calling each time they make a purchase of $10 or more using their TCF Check Card.


Payment Planet / JapanLink

Planet Payment and JAPANLINK today announced an international agreement that will offer one stop e-commerce payment solutions and services to Japan’s burgeoning businesses reaching out to global markets.

Planet Payment and JAPANLINK will now jointly offer one-stop e-commerce solutions to e-businesses looking to conduct activity on a worldwide basis. Japanese merchants will go online to set up their e-business website and accept online multi-currency credit card payments in real-time through the Planet Payment gateway, powered by AuthorizeNet.

JAPANLINK, headquartered in Tokyo, has a two-year exclusive license to the AbleCommerce shopping cart solution in Japan. Through its affiliation with AbleCommerce, this proprietary shopping cart technology is completely converted to support Japanese language and currency. JAPANLINK will offer the shopping cart as an enterprise stand-alone or as a hosted product, and through its partnership with Planet Payment, will be able to offer immediate multi-currency payment solutions to its participating merchants.

“While electronic payment systems are becoming increasingly common all over the world, from micropayment systems using smart cards in Europe to electronic currency for use on the Internet in the U.S., few electronic payment systems have originated from Japan. This partnership with Planet Payment allows us to further develop our Japanese solution for Japanese business,” notes William B. Claster, President of JAPANLINK.

Japan is the leading market for Internet development in Asia. According to a recently released report from eMarketer, a highly respected U.S. Internet research firm, e-Commerce revenues in Japan will steadily rise from $1.35 billion in 1998 to $37 billion in 2003. The Japan Network Information Center (the association responsible for Japanese domain name and IP address assignment) reported the number of .jp domains connected in Japan increased 84% from March 1998 to March 1999, during the latest data recorded period.

“We feel that the Planet Payment – AbleCommerce Japan partnership will boost global e-commerce, particularly in Japan,” said Michael J. Randolph, Chairman and CEO of AbleCommerce. “This is yet another step in fulfilling our obligation to support and service the Japanese Internet community.”

“This latest agreement is a significant step in Planet Payment’s stated strategy to become the global leader in providing multi-currency credit card payment solutions to merchants and financial institutions ,” says Philip Beck, Chief Executive Officer of Planet Payment. “Together, with our strategic partners, we can uniquely provide internationally-minded companies with one-stop e-businesses solutions and services on a global basis.”


AbleCommerce Japan is a division of JAPANLINK, which owns the exclusive rights to distribute AbleCommerce products in Japan. JAPANLINK () has built an online mall and will build three more within the next few months. These online malls put cutting edge technology and power at the fingertips of any merchant for the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective creation of a competitive presence online in Japan. AbleCommerce, founded in February 1995, ([][1] is a division of AbleCommerce Corporation, located in Vancouver, Washington. AbleCommerce is a premiere electronic commerce solution provider.

About Planet Payment

Planet Payment () provides e-businesses — anywhere — with the ability to accept credit cards online, in real-time, in almost any currency. To get up and running, e-businesses need a credit card merchant account and secure payment gateway. To maximize the global opportunity presented by e-commerce, merchants will need to accept payments in multiple currencies. Planet Payment’s affordable solution enables Internet merchants to accept Visa(R), MasterCard(R), and American Express(R) credit cards and is compatible with most shopping cart technologies using its state-of-the-art payment gateway powered by Authorize.Net ().



Compubank Financing

CompuBank, the first Internet national bank, today announced a $36 million investment in its first institutional round of financing led by SOFTBANK FINANCE with GE Financial Assurance, The Goldman Sachs Group and Marsh & McLennan Capital participating.

“In its first year, CompuBank was the most widely recognized Internet bank and was rated the number one bank online by,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, President and Chief Executive Officer of SOFTBANK FINANCE, “We are confident that CompuBank will continue to be the leader in Internet banking,” said Kitao.

“Our world-class investors bring strategic relationships that will be instrumental in building on CompuBank’s success,” said Frank S. Goldberg, CompuBank’s Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “These strategic partnerships will fuel exponential growth for CompuBank in the year 2000.”

CompuBank, Member FDIC, offers a variety of depository products and services to both businesses and consumers, including: basic checking, interest checking, savings, money market accounts, certificates of deposits, Visa check cards, direct deposit and transfers, free domestic wire services, online check re-order, free bill payment and free ATM services. In addition to free services and exceptional interest rates, CompuBank offers its customers the ultimate convenience and ease-of-use in banking.

CompuBank utilizes affinity-based marketing to businesses and consumers. By targeting Internet users, CompuBank has experienced tremendous account growth on an efficient marketing strategy. Over the past 12 months, CompuBank has experienced over 100% quarter-to-quarter growth in its account acquisition.

CompuBank plans to use the investment for customer acquisition, operational expansion and general capital requirements.

About the Investors

SOFTBANK CORP. has emerged as one of the world’s leading Internet market forces. Through its ownership positions in more than 100 Internet companies and its unique Internet-zaibatsu management concept, it is able to create market synergies for its family of companies on a global scale. In Japan its activities encompass distribution, publishing, Internet media platforms, a broad range of e-commerce businesses, and joint ventures with companies such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Yahoo!, the National Association of Security Dealers, and many other market leaders. In the U.S., SOFTBANK is the largest shareholder in leading Internet companies such as Yahoo!, E*Trade and ZDNet, and in Europe has established Internet joint ventures with News Corp. and Viviendi.

GE Financial Assurance

GE Financial Assurance is an integrated family of consumer-focused insurance and investment companies committed to helping people create and preserve wealth, protect assets and enhance their lifestyles. GE’s consumer financial product offerings are sold through multiple distribution channels and include: life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, retirement investment plans, long term care coverage, supplemental accident and health benefits, auto coverage, and life style enhancement products like travel and home shopping services, and automobile clubs. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, GE Financial Assurance has $80 billion of assets under management.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking and securities firm, providing a full range of investing, advisory, and financing services worldwide to a substantial and diversified client base, which includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high net worth individuals. Founded in 1869, it is one of the oldest and largest investment banking firms. The Firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers around the world.

Marsh & McLennan Capital

Marsh & McLennan Capital, a private equity firm with $2.5 billion under management, is focused on investing in the financial services industry. The firm’s venture fund targets investments in early stage technology companies that are involved in financial services, with an emphasis on B2B opportunities. The fund completed 10 transactions in 1999, including investments in LoanCity (an Internet platform for residential mortgage brokers), ChannelPoint (an exchange for the distribution and sale of insurance products), and LendingTree (an Internet-based loan marketplace).

Marsh & McLennan Capital is a subsidiary of The Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), a global professional services firm with annual revenues in excess of $7 billion. MCC businesses include Putnam Investments, Mercer Management Consulting, and William M. Mercer.

About CompuBank

As the first nationally chartered Internet bank, CompuBank brings together a wide range of banking and financial services for consumers and businesses, all day, every day. CompuBank offers a variety of depository products and services including: basic checking, interest checking, savings, money market accounts, certificates of deposits, visa check cards, direct deposit and transfers, free domestic wire services, online check re-order, free bill payment and free ATM services. In addition to free services and exceptional interest rates, CompuBank offers its customers the ultimate convenience and ease-of-use in banking. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, CompuBank is FDIC insured. For more information, email or visit the Web site at .


Motorola Mobile Virtual Card

Motorola teams with Trintech to deliver mobile virtual credit card. Motorola today made it easier to shop on the move by unveiling the industry’s first secure virtual credit card solution for making online purchases from mobile phones. Motorola has combined virtual credit card technology from Trintech for secure and convenient online purchasing, with their wireless devices to launch the solution at the GSM World Congress 2000 in Cannes. The innovation is the first in an ongoing collaboration between Motorola and Trintech to create solutions that enable wireless devices with virtual credit cards. Motorola plans to demonstrate a wireless credit card purchase over a mobile phone at the GSM World Congress 2000 in Cannes. When shopping on the Internet, the user merely has to invoke their virtual credit card by using the keypad on their phone or by using voice activated commands.


Discover Desk$hop Virtual Card

Discover Financial Services today announced the launch of the innovative Discover Desk$hop virtual credit card, which provides Discover Cardmembers with one-click access to their online account, a convenient drag-and-drop mechanism for shopping on the Internet and real-time available credit balance information. Trintech is powering the Discover Desk$hop’s form filling functionality with its PayGate NetIssuer virtual credit card solution. Discover Desk$hop fully supports the Electronic Commerce Modeling Language standard. The privacy of consumer’s card details is protected with the highest level of Secure Socket Layer encryption and credit card security is enhanced by the PIN-protected access used when Cardmembers invoke their Discover Desk$hop virtual card.