Clinton Online

Over the weekend President Clinton endorsed online holiday shopping. America Online, American Express, AT&T, Dell, IBM, Microsoft, Time Warner Inc., and VISA promptly joined together to commend the President for his radio address on Saturday encouraging consumers to shop online this holiday season. The Electronic Commerce and Consumer Protection Group thanked the President for his continued leadership in the growth and development of electronic commerce.

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Open Market & ClickPay Team

Open Market, Inc. , the market share leader in Internet commerce software, and ClickPay, one of the world’s most advanced electronic payment solution providers, announced a global partnership. The companies have integrated Open Market’s ShopSite store building software with ClickPay’s payment gateway and merchant account credit card processing services. The companies will offer this integrated solution to merchants through ShopSite Internet Service Providers to enable merchants anywhere in the world to open a global merchant account and process credit card payments online, worldwide in multiple currencies.

“This ShopSite and ClickPay integration is a real benefit for small and medium-sized companies that want to expand their business on a global scale,” said Jeff Bussgang, vice president of marketing at Open Market. “ClickPay’s global payment gateway technology is an important element for global e-business. This technology, combined with the robust commerce management functionality that Open Market pioneered, will help ISPs get merchants up and running with a global online store in a matter of days, if not hours.”

Open Market and ClickPay have integrated Open Market’s newly released ShopSite 4.2 with ClickPay to create a seamless experience for merchants signing on with ISPs. This combined turnkey solution gives merchants an easy-to-use store-building product combined with a global merchant account, payment gateway, virtual terminal for off-line orders, a virtual wallet for micropayments, and multi-currency and multi-language support at one of the lowest costs in the industry.

“ClickPay is the solution for companies that want to establish a true global e-commerce operation,” said Christophe Arroyo, managing director of ClickPay. “As important as it is to have the right technology in place to set up a compelling Web store, it is equally important to have the right technology in place to manage the global payment gateway and merchant accounts. By combining Open Market’s e-commerce software solutions with the strength of ClickPay’s integrated services, we will provide merchants around the world one of the most comprehensive and easy-to-use e-commerce offerings that will enable ISPs and merchants to stake their claim in the Internet economy.”

About ClickPay

ClickPay, headquartered on Wall Street in New York City, is the first electronic payment solution provider to offer global Internet Merchant accounts that accept credit cards online. ClickPay’s benefits include an advanced, high performance payment gateway, virtual terminal for off-line orders, virtual wallets for micropayments, and multi-currency and multi-language support at a cost that is among the lowest in the industry. ClickPay is the unique solution for companies that want to establish a “true global e-commerce” operation where all aspects of Internet transactions are operated on-line: orders, credit card authorization, secure transmissions, processing, and settlement.

ClickPay maintains a strong relationship with KLELine, the Internet-focused subsidiary of the third largest European bank, BNP Paribas. ClickPay is authorized to open merchant accounts around the world, provide a secure online payment system, obtain digital IDs, process payments in multiple currencies (with all major international credit cards), deposit proceeds directly into clients’ merchant accounts, and make financial settlement without third party fees.

About Open Market

Founded in 1994, Open Market, Inc. (Nasdaq: OMKT) is the market-share leader in Internet commerce software with more than 30,000 merchant licenses sold worldwide. Open Market offers an integrated set of open, scaleable applications that enable enterprises to move their businesses to the Web. Open Market’s products enable companies to build dynamic, personalized, revenue generating Web sites that are cost effective, easy to manage and quickly adapt to changing business requirements. Among Open Market’s distinguished roster of global customers are many of the most popular domains on the Web, including Lycos.com, AOL.com, and the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition; major industrials such as Acer, Ingram Micro, Milacron, and Siemens; and 10 of the world’s top 13 national telephone companies. Open Market’s content management software is used by companies including Lucent Technologies, Hitachi, and Chase Manhattan Bank. The company, headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, has a presence in 30 countries. Open Market’s international head office is in the UK with additional offices in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and The Netherlands. Open Market can be reached by visiting [http://www.openmarket.com][1].

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

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Mondex Mexico

The three largest credit card issuers in Mexico and three of the major commercial banks in Mexico, announced this morning they have joined forces to promote a new national smart card infrastructure incorporating Mondex electronic cash. Banco Nacional de M©xico (a/k/a Banamex), Bancomer and Banco Internacional (a/k/a Bital) have purchased the franchise rights to Mondex and have invited the rest of the Mexican commercial financial institutions to join them in the use of Mondex as the national e-cash system. Plans include not only the use of Mondex as a means to create new lines of business, but also combine efforts and use the synergies with the use of EMV credit/debit and loyalty applications to improve service to their customers. Mondex is now the leading electronic cash scheme for NAFTA, one of the world’s largest trading blocks, with support from more leading financial institutions than any other system. The NAFTA region, incorporating Canada, USA and Mexico, represents a population of 370 million and a combined economic production of US$9.2 trillion. Mondex has also been the choice for various Latin-American countries, including Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Venezuela.

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Accesspoint

Accesspoint Corporation , continuing its commitment to be the premier provider of transaction engines that power an e-commerce industry projected to reach trillions of transactions worldwide, announced that it has launched the beta testing phase for its on-line bill presentment and Electronic Funds Transfer projects.

It is anticipated that upon certification of the EFT project utilizing the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, Accesspoint’s merchants/clients will be able to accept payment by check over the Internet.

“Integrating electronic funds transfer into our award-winning Transaction Manager and Merchant Manager Enterprise products will represent a major step in providing our customers with the ability to tap into the growing market of non credit card-based Internet transactions,” said George Taggart, COO of Accesspoint. “Our success and profitability is driven by our ability to provide our merchants and clients with every conceivable payment option. Both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer market segments clearly indicate that on-line payment by check is an option that continues to grow in acceptance and thus we are responding quickly to facilitate its implementation,” added Taggart.

The National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) estimates that total ACH transactions will grow from a reported 4.5 trillion in 1997 to more than 8 trillion transactions by the year 2002. Specifically, the on-line bill presentment/EFT program is expected to lead to increased revenues for Accesspoint’s on-line merchants/clients who will be able to do business with customers who don’t own credit cards or would prefer to limit their usage. The program will also lead to a reduction of paperwork through more efficient models of purchase ordering, invoicing, and fulfillment.

Accesspoint’s EFT program is only the latest in a series of key initiatives implemented by the expanding Internet e-commerce company. In the last month alone, Accesspoint received certification from Nova Information Systems, Inc. (NYSE:NIS; NOVA) for high speed internet based credit card processing on the NOVA platform; and the company became certified for Level III business-to-business purchase card transactions with the National Data Corporation (NDC), the first processor to be certified for Level III purchase card transactions with all three major credit cards, Visa(R), MasterCard, and American Express (NYSE: AXP).

Accesspoint provides its national and international business clients a comprehensive and turn-key range of Internet e-commerce services allowing businesses of all sizes to implement profitable on-line Internet strategies without having to support the in-house technology and infrastructure normally required. Accesspoint adds to its own technology and software infrastructure the use of superior network technology from industry pacesetters such as Exodus Communications (Nasdaq:EXDS), Oracle (Nasdaq:ORCL), Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq:SUNW), Cisco Systems (Nasdaq:CSCO), Foundry Networks (Nasdaq:FDRY), and Network Appliance (Nasdaq:NTAP).

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Wireless POS Computer

Symbol Technologies announced this morning that computer software and video game retailer Electronics Boutique has installed the first Symbol ‘SPT 1740’ wireless cash register. The hand-held Symbol computer integrates a tiny bar code laser scanner, Symbol’s ‘Spectrum 24′ radio frequency technology and Kyrus POS software for scanning products, completing credit card transactions, recording sales and checking inventory with the store’s server. Kyrus’ software emulates the store’s POS system and when connected to the Symbol ‘SPT 1740’, acts like a mobile cash register. A small ‘Comtec II’ printer, also attached to the employee’s belt, prints receipts and labels. Electronics Boutique has 568 stores in 45 states. The firm says there are days during the holiday season, when revenue at an EB store is constrained only by how many customers the store can get through the registers. Electronics Boutique sells video and computer games, video game hardware, PC productivity software accessories in 1,000 square ft. stores, with two or three cash registers each.

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Royal Rewards for Kids

For the second-straight year, Royal Bank Visa shoppers are donating Royal Rewards points to buy Christmas gifts for needy children across Canada.

Consumers who shop with a Royal Bank Visa Gold Preferred card, a Royal Trust Visa Gold, a Royal Bank US Dollar Visa Gold, or a Royal Bank Visa Platinum Preferred, may donate accumulated Royal Rewards points toward the purchase of children’s presents by calling their local Royal Bank Visa card centre, until December 6, 1999. The selection of gifts caters to all ages and includes stuffed bears, radio headsets, movie passes, artist kits and Play Doh. Gifts will be distributed in each province through the Kinsmen & Kinette Clubs of Canada.

“What a joy it is to put a smile on the faces of so many Canadian children during the Christmas season,” says Marion Price, executive director, Kinsmen & Kinette Clubs of Canada. “This initiative brings together key community supporters, working together to strengthen the foundations our neighbourhoods are built upon.”

With a 1999 goal of donating 3,000 toys, cardholders can buy a child a toy with a donation of 2,500 points. Last year, 2,000 toys were donated across Canada.

“Royal Rewards Points for Toys gives our cardholders the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life, especially during the holiday season,” said Rod Pike, vice-president, retail credit cards, for Royal Bank. “Together with the Kinsmen & Kinette Clubs of Canada, Royal Bank hopes to collect thousands of toys for children in all parts of the country.”

Royal Bank (RY) is a global financial services group and a leading provider of personal and commercial banking, insurance products, wealth management, and corporate and investment banking. The bank and its key subsidiaries Royal Trust, RBC Dominion Securities, RBC Insurance, and Royal Bank Action Direct have approximately 52,000 employees (on a full-time equivalent basis) serving 10 million clients through more than 1,400 branches and offices in over 30 countries.

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Multi-App Cards Die

A new study, released this morning, suggests that transitioning to multiapplication smart cards, which offer a better business model and consumer proposition, will pose enormous challenges. Forrester Research says that many companies are using single-application smart cards to test the economies of scale for multiapplication smart cards but going beyond a single application involves several hurdles. The research firm projects by 2004, there will be 295 million smart cards in use in Europe. For example the 7.5 million people currently carrying the ‘Dutch Chipper’ card perform only 1 million transactions a year, but as the region enters the new millennium, market factors will emerge that will sharply increase usage. A new standard (EMV) will accelerate card issuance, and the euro will drive vending machines to accept stored value payment schemes like ePurse. By 2002, $340 million will have been spent by vending firms to outfit machines to handle the new currency, and new technologies will further multiply access points . . . but multiapplication cards will not materialize. Forrester believes that several issues, like the right mix of functionality, the inadequacies of existing smart card operating systems, and appropriate partnerships, will undermine the multiapplication card. Higher costs will also deter card issuers, while telecom advances will eliminate the need to host apps on a card.

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Creditrust Online

Creditrust Corporation announced last week the launch of its interactive credit card web site, Creditrust.com ([http://www.creditrust.com][1]).

In addition to providing key corporate information to investors and other visitors to the site, Creditrust.com is now a fully interactive web site designed to be a valuable resource for its customers and credit card account holders. The web site enables cardholders to retrieve real time account information with the click of a mouse. Through Creditrust.com, cardholders have the ability to access up to the minute balances, available credit, historical transaction summaries, graphs and charts of account activity, and search for individual transactions. Cardholders can also email Creditrust’s customer service department regarding their credit needs, credit line increases, address changes and transaction inquiries.

“We are very excited about the launch of the site. All account information can be downloaded by the customer into popular financial management formats such as Quicken(R) or Microsoft Money(R) complete with customizable categories,” said Joseph K. Rensin, Creditrust’s Chairman and CEO.

Mr. Rensin continued, “Some of our advanced features allow cardholders to receive special email alerts when they are approaching their credit limit, or when customizable spending thresholds have been achieved. Our cardholders can now receive email notices reminding them of special events or even a spouse’s birthday. We believe Creditrust.com will empower our customers by providing everyone with the same high quality tools and resources previously available only to a select few.”

“This powerful financial tool can be experienced by clicking ‘TEST DRIVE’ on our home page. This allows a non-cardholder to experience all the important benefits of the site, using sample data. This is another example of how Creditrust is using technology to make peoples’ financial lives easier,” Mr. Rensin concluded.

About Creditrust

Founded in 1991, Creditrust Corporation acquires, manages and collects delinquent consumer receivables utilizing an information-driven strategy. The Company uses proprietary technology to acquire receivables primarily consisting of charged-off Visa(R), MasterCard(R), and private label credit card accounts issued by major banks and merchants. Creditrust was added to the Russell 2000 Index(R) in July of this year.

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

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Online Projections

How much will consumers spend online this holiday season? It’s a pure guesstimate. Amazon.com and Harris Interactive said yesterday that their survey shows consumers will spend $8 billion. CyberSource said Tuesday it projects the number to be $7.3 billion. Meanwhile Ernst & Young says its survey shows online sales will fall between $12 and $15 billion this holiday season. All three projections are somewhat fuzzy as to the definition of holiday online sales or the timeline involved. Last year AOL shoppers spent $1.2 billion online between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Based on merchant and card usage growth patterns this year, it is more likely AOL shoppers will spend $3.5 billion and that totals online sales, including retail, travel and entertainment sales, between the two major holidays, will land just north of $13 billion.

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AOL Bill Pay

America Online and Intuit announced plans Tuesday to offer a comprehensive online bill payment service for American households. The service will roll-out during the first quarter 2000. Under the five-year agreement, Intuit will be the exclusive integrated provider of this bill tracking and payment service to AOL and AOL.COM. CheckFree will provide the routing, tracking and payment engine to support Intuit’s offering for CheckFree’s billers. Checkfree will also provide the payment engine for the “Pay Everyone” functionality that Intuit’s new service will offer to consumers. The new AOL feature will give consumers the ability to view, track, and pay all of their bills, whether they are issued electronically or in hard copy paper bills. Under the agreement, AOL and Intuit will provide utilities, credit card companies, and other billers with a way to present bills to their customers, complete with their brand and logo identity, at whatever level of detail they desire, using state-of-the-art encryption technology. Consumers can also direct billers who do not provide electronic billing to send paper bills to an Intuit address where they will be scanned into electronic format. A monthly fee, to be determined, will be charged for use of this feature.

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Holding the Line

Despite cracks in some major portfolios, chargeoffs remained stable at 5.5% for the October collection period. Standard & Poor’s ‘Credit Card Quality Index’ says the October figure is slightly above September’s 5.4% rate but well below last October’s 6.2% charge-off level. The other performance variables tracked by the indexes reported improvements except for payment rate. Payment rate dropped 50 bps, to 16.2% from 16.9%. Average yield increased by 80 bps, although growing concerns that the days of charging higher ancillary fees are numbered, continue. The increase in yield more than compensated for the slight uptick in losses as average excess spread for the trusts remains strong at 6.7%.

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ZeitControl Windows Reader

With the PC/SC interface Microsoft integrates a new generation of smart card readers into Windows 98/NT. This smartcard reader is connected to the PC via the serial interface or via the USB Bus.

Booting Windows NT 6.0 will only be possible with a smart card. Thus all existing PCs will have to be equipped with a smart card reader. ZeitControl is one of the first suppliers of this new generation of smart card readers.

All drivers for Windows as well as free software tools e.g. one to read GSM cards come with the reader or can be downloaded free from [www.zeitontrol.de][1].

[1]: http://www.zeitcontrol.de

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