Web Traffic

NextCard’s banner ads were the only credit card related online ads to make into the top ten banner ads for the week ending Jan. 2 according to Nielsen/NetRatings. NextCard’s “0.0% APR” ad has the second largest reach of any ad on the Internet last week while NextCard’s “30-sec Approval” ad came in as #6. Nielsen says 50.7 million users surfed the web last week producing an average click rate for top banners of 0.27%.


PayGate Client

Trintech Group PLC said yesterday that Alpha Credit Bank in Greece has chosen ‘PayGate’ to process card payments from its 17,000 merchant base in the country. Delta Informatics installed and operates the ‘PayGate’ system as contract payment processor to Alpha Credit Bank. Alpha and Delta chose ‘PayGate’ as part of Trintech’s contract with VISA EU to replace its ‘Member Data Capture’ system in 40 banks across the region with a solution that is scalable, multi-currency enabled and has the ability to process multiple card types on an open platform. The ‘PayGate’ solution has been designed to enable banks and transaction processors to scale up to the demands of multiple card types, as well as integrate seamlessly with legacy card systems.


Delta Goes Japanese

Delta Air Lines and Asahi Card Company will introduce the ‘Delta SkyMiles Asahi VISA’ card today in Japan. The new card is the first Delta co-branded credit card offered outside of the USA. American Express issues the U.S.-based, co-branded Delta credit card. It is also Delta’s first partnership involving the VISA brand. The yen-based revolving credit card, available in ‘Classic’ and ‘Gold’ levels, will feature Japanese-language statements and other in-country cardholder services. Delta said this morning that it will launch a series of international ‘SkyMiles VISA’ credit cards during the year 2000.


MovieFone Hits DC

AOL MovieFone and American Express invaded Washington D.C. this week with the launch of a moviegoer frequency program backed by both film distributors and theater chains. First launched in New York City last March, moviegoers in the D.C area will earn a complimentary ticket for every ten purchased through MovieFone with an AmEx Card. The program will be available at Loews Theatres and Cineplex Odeon Theatres. Participating studios include Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Universal Pictures, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, MGM/UA, New Line Cinema, Miramax, and Paramount Pictures.


ISO Acquisition

Long Island, N.Y.-based Merchant Services Inc., confirmed this morning it has purchased a significant portfolio of merchant accounts from an independent sales organization based in Dallas. Under terms of the agreement, Merchant Services acquired 8,500 merchant accounts for a cost of approximately $5 million. These 8,500 customers will supplement Merchant Services Inc.’s existing portfolio of over 30,000 merchants. MSI says the acquisition will grow the company’s annual revenues by 25% to $12.5 million. The firm has an annual processing volume of $1.2 billion.


TNS Record

PSINet’s Transaction Network Services unit reported this morning that its system carried over 585 million transactions in December, averaging about 19 million transactions per day, and exceeding six billion for all of 1999. During peak hours, its eCommerce network transported over 600 transactions per second. The peak of traffic was reached on December 23rd, when it carried almost 24 million transactions. The busiest days for top petroleum processors were December 30th and 31st. TNS says ATM transactions were running 25% above normal during the holiday break.


Maytag Man Gets Smart

Payment card access to appliances via the Internet may soon be a reality. Maytag Corp. announced this week it has formed a strategic alliance with e-Vend.net Corp. Under terms of the deal, Maytag will take a substantial minority ownership position in e-Vend. Maytag says e-Vend’s technology for processing credit, debit and private label gift cards via the Internet will accelerate Maytag’s Internet strategy to develop and market smart appliances with ubiquitous connectivity.


BofA Merchant Services

Bank of America announced Wednesday a new head for its Merchant Services Division. Lorraine Stimmel, currently head of Corporate Diversity and Work/Life, will assume the position immediately. Stimmel replaces Sharif Bayyari, who chose to leave Bank of America to pursue personal endeavors effective yesterday, Jan 5. Stimmel has more than 26 years experience with Bank of America, serving in consumer banking, operations, technology and personnel divisions. She will report to Jim Hulihan, head of Commercial Card Products and Services.


UICI Lawsuit

Hoffman & Edelson announced it has filed a class action lawsuit for violations of the federal securities laws in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas against UICI (NYSE: UCI) and two of its highest officers, on behalf of all persons who purchased UICI common stock between May 5, 1999, and December 9, 1999, inclusive. Case No. 3-99CV2860-X.

The Complaint charges that UICI and two of its officers violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Complaint alleges that defendants issued materially misleading financial statements which overstated corporate earnings by recording inadequate reserves for credit card losses at UICI’s United CreditServ subsidiary.

The Complaint further alleges that one of the defendants utilized his inside information regarding the artificial inflation of the Company’s stock price to sell significant amount of his personal UICI stock holdings.

If you purchased UICI common stock during the May 5, 1999, through December 9, 1999, time period, you may wish to join the action. You may move the court to serve as a lead plaintiff on or before February 15, 2000.

Hoffman & Edelson represents individuals and business entities in consumer, antitrust and securities fraud litigation.