VISA Millionaire

America Online and e-Visa announced a new sweepstakes that will make one online shopper an instant millionaire. Online shoppers who sign up for Shop@AOL’s Quick Checkout digital wallet with their VISA card will be automatically entered to win the million dollar prize. Eligible participants will receive one entry when they register for Shop@AOL’s Quick Checkout between now and December 13. One grand-prize winner will be chosen via a random drawing and awarded a $1 million ‘VISA Prize Card’ issued by First USA. AOL’s digital wallet enables customers to enter information from ten different credit cards, billing information and up to 50 shipping addresses. Discover is currently running a millionaire sweepstakes that will award $1 million to a Discover cardholder on New Year’s Eve.

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ConnectIC

Oberthur Card Systems introduced yesterday ‘ConnectIC’, the world’s first Wireless Application Protocol -enabled smart card. The ‘ConnectIC’ card is ideal for securing mobile Internet services such as mobile banking, mobile ticketing, as well as providing secure access to corporate intranets. ‘ConnectIC’ incorporates a special ‘Java 2.1’ applet that performs the ‘WAP Identity Module’ functions. This can be combined with other applications, to create a multi-application environment for additional e-commerce, loyalty, SIM Toolkit and authorized transaction services, as well as Internet browsing. ‘ConnectIC’ can store issuer-defined connectivity information including IP addresses, dial-up access numbers and homepages, as well as the cardholder’s personal information.

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First USA CarsDirect Package

Car buyers will soon be able to save hundreds of dollars in financing by participating in a breakthrough program developed by CarsDirect.com, the leading automotive e-tailer, First USA, the world’s largest Visa credit card issuer, and CD1 Financial.com, a full-service Internet automotive lender and joint venture between CarsDirect.com and Bank One. The innovative financing package is designed to save customers time and money and make coming up with a down payment easier than ever.

The complete financing package – including down payment and loan or lease – will be targeted to qualified First USA cardholders who are in the vehicle purchasing cycle. As part of the program, First USA will offer qualified cardholders a convenience check made out to CarsDirect.com. The check will be applied to the down payment on a new vehicle purchased from CarsDirect.com, using the cardholder’s credit line at a special interest rate as low as 3.9%. CD1 Financial.com will further assist program participants with a loan or lease at a special low rate for the rest of the financing term. CarsDirect.com will also offer First USA cardmembers who respond to the program $250 in free gas for their new CarsDirect.com vehicle.

The program, which begins in November in select markets, is expected to roll out nationwide beginning early next year.

“Through this campaign, First USA takes another step into the growing world of e-commerce,” said Carter Warren, executive vice president, marketing, First USA. “Our Cardmembers already turn to us when it comes to paying for vehicle maintenance and service as well as purchases over the Web. Now we can help them buy a car over the Web. And by partnering with CarsDirect.com, we know our Cardholders will get great, upfront prices, a unique value and the ultimate in customer service and convenience.”

“This three-way alliance will help us to both expand our reach and demonstrate the power of our service,” said Scott Painter, CEO, CarsDirect.com. “Through this alliance with First USA, we’re underscoring the first principle of our company – that our customers are the real winners. Not only does this program make coming up with a down payment easier than ever, but customers will save money and time in the financing end of the transaction. This partnership exemplifies our commitment to innovate financing packages that really raise the bar beyond traditional brick-and-mortar solutions.”

CarsDirect.com is the first nationwide online source that lets consumers research, price, select, customize, finance, order and take delivery of a new vehicle. CD1 Financial.com, a full service Internet automotive lending and leasing company designed to redefine the world of online automotive finance, was created through a joint venture with CarsDirect.com and Bank One, the nation’s fifth largest bank and a major automotive lender.

About First USA

First USA (), a subsidiary of Bank One Corporation (NYSE: ONE), is the world’s largest issuer of Visa credit cards. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of more than 2,200 marketing partners. Bank One Corporation is the nation’s fifth-largest bank holding company with assets of more than $264 billion.

About CarsDirect.com

CarsDirect.com ([http://www.carsdirect.com][1]) is a revolutionary new Internet company that lets consumers complete the vehicle purchase transaction. With CarsDirect.com, shoppers can research, price, customize, order and finance a new car or truck over the Web — selecting from among 2,500 makes and models by every major manufacturer. Unlike referral services, which point people to a dealer to accomplish the transaction, CarsDirect.com takes the customer from inquiry through financing right up to delivery. CarsDirect.com was recently named the top car-buying site on the Internet by Gomez Advisors of Lincoln, Mass.

Based in Los Angeles, CarsDirect.com is an idealab! company. Its investors include Goldman Sachs, Foundation Capital, idealab! Capital Partners, MSD Capital L.P., and Primedia Ventures, among others.

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

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Citibank Smart Cards

Citibank is set to deliver 20,000 Gemplus smart cards to Citibank customers in Hong Kong. This is the first fully operational banking card system using the ‘JavaCard Open Operating System’. The ‘Sun Hung Kai Properties Club VISA Card’ offers a contactless application for SHKP residents to access buildings, and a contact application offering ‘VISACash Purse’ and loyalty. The smart card used in the Citibank/SHKP project is ‘GemXpresso 210 PK’ featuring public key cryptography with a VISACash applet provided by IBM Research. This card is the world’s first commercial multifunctional smart card using ‘VISA Open Platform’ technology and Hong Kong’s first credit card to feature the ‘VISA Cash’ function.

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Fleet AltaVista Deal

CMGI’s AltaVista Company and Fleet Credit Card Services have signed a credit card agreement valued at nearly $50 million. The new AltaVista credit card, to be released in early 2000, will enable cardholders to earn points toward more than one million products at the all new AltaVista Shopping.com. The new ‘AltaVista Incentive Rewards Program’ will offer rewards for every card purchase in the form of electronic cash. AltaVista Shopping.com gives users the ability to search quickly across millions of products throughout the Web, read through thousands of in-depth product reviews, view side-by-side comparisons, and choose from thousands of retailers located online or within driving distance from the consumer. Fleet says the new AltaVista card will carry a low APR, no annual fee, and its Internet fraud guarantee. Based on the success of the program over several years, Fleet will pay AltaVista in a deal valued up to $50 million or more for co-branded credit cards and promotion throughout the AltaVista Network, a top 10 Internet site with 40 million visitors monthly.

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Associates Follett Deal

Associates First Capital Corporation Thursday announced an agreement with Follett Higher Education Group that allows The Associates to offer credit card products and provide financial education resources through Follett’s bookstores and the efollett.com Web site. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The agreement allows the entire Follett bookstore operation, with more than 600 campus bookstores in the United States and Canada, to have a consistent source of credit card and financial education information on site. Additionally, the agreement provides exclusivity for The Associates to provide credit card services through the efollett.com Web site, which serves more than four million students and contains online booklists for more than 1,000 college campuses. Through these “click and mortar” venues, students have instant access to financial education information and resources to begin building a credit history for themselves.

“As a leader in the financial services industry, it is important for The Associates to take advantage of new technology opportunities and creatively build products to reach specific market segments. We create educational and financial opportunities for young adults through our partnerships,” said Joseph N. Scarpinato, senior executive vice president, Credit Card Operations for The Associates.

“As we begin to add more value for students and campuses alike, we realize that access to financial resources and educational materials is a need for students. Partnering with a leader in the credit card market is the smart thing to do,” said Tim Dorgan, senior vice president, e-commerce for Follett Higher Education Group. “We are committed to being the leading provider of textbooks and campus merchandise, both on campus and online.”

Follett pioneered online textbook retailing in August 1995 when it developed its first Web site. In January of 1999, Follett created a central Web site — efollett.com — for the more than 600 bookstores it operates. Through its bookstore and online services, Follett serves more than four million students and 375,000 faculty members on more than 1,000 college campuses including Georgetown University, Rutgers University, University of California – Berkeley and Michigan State University.

It is company policy for The Associates to provide financial education pamphlets to each student requesting an application for a credit card. In early 1998, The Associates launched an award-winning Web site, ([http://www.studentcreditcard.com][1]), which provides young consumers with ongoing finance and credit education by offering real-life tips on how to maintain a good credit record, manage money responsibly and create a personal budget.

The Associates issues Visa credit cards, leading retail private label credit cards and is the largest issuer of private label oil cards in the nation.

Associates First Capital Corporation, established in 1918, is a leading diversified finance company providing consumer and commercial finance, leasing, insurance and related services worldwide. The Associates has operations in the United States and 13 international markets. Headquartered in Dallas, it is the nation’s largest publicly traded finance company, based on total market capitalization. For more information, visit The Associates Web site at [http://www.theassociates.com][2].

[1]: http://www.studentcreditcard.com/
[2]: http://www.theassociates.com/

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Russel CEO of TSA

Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. announced that current chief operating officer and board member David C. Russell has accepted the additional roles of president and chief executive officer.

Russell, 51, will lead TSA’s corporate and product strategy as chief executive officer in addition to continuing to oversee all of TSA’s day-to-day business operations. Russell will report to and continue to work closely with William E. Fisher who remains chairman of Transaction Systems Architects’ board of directors. Russell’s promotion marks the beginning of a new era at Transaction Systems Architects. A little more than one year ago (September 29, 1998), TSA put in place an Office of the Executive position in which Mr. Russell became Chief Operating Officer and Mr. Fisher spent more of his time on corporate strategy.

As chairman of TSA’s board of directors, Mr. Fisher will continue to focus on corporate strategy in cooperation with the board and executive management team. “My role as chairman will concentrate in two areas. First of all, we will continue to identify and acquire specific products and people expertise to fill out our product offerings and service capability around the world,” said William E. Fisher, chairman of Transaction Systems Architects. “In addition, I will focus more time on TSA’s relationship with other leaders in the payments industry to ensure TSA remains the premier software payments provider worldwide. Dave’s ability to fill the role of CEO gives me the time to execute these key parts of our overall strategy.

“David has done an excellent job as chief operating officer,” added Mr. Fisher, chairman of Transaction Systems Architects. “He has demonstrated strong leadership over his ten plus years and I feel confident that David is the right person to lead TSA into the next millennium, and help guide new product development that will sustain TSA’s position as the leader in electronic payments software.”

Russell joined Applied Communications Inc (ACI) in 1989 serving as Vice President of Strategic Planning, later serving as Vice President of Customer Support, Senior Vice President of Software and Services, Senior Vice President of EFT Product Company and President of ACI Worldwide. Russell was instrumental in the creation and expansion of TSA’s worldwide distribution network, and over the last year Mr. Russell has led TSA’s new Internet banking and e commerce initiatives. From 1984 to 1989, he held various sales, operations and planning positions at First Data Resources. He earned a B.S. and a MBA from Virginia Tech.

Transaction Systems Architects’ software facilitates electronic payments by providing consumers and companies access to their money. Its products are used to process transactions involving credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, home banking services, checks, wire transfers as well as automated clearing and settlement. Transaction Systems’ solutions are used on more than 3,550 product systems in 79 countries on six continents.

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WMSesolutions

Wachovia Merchant Services, an alliance between Wachovia Bank and First Data Merchant Services Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of First Data Corp., Thursday announced the launch of WMSesolutions, a comprehensive e-commerce solution for small and mid-sized businesses.

WMSesolutions provides a completely integrated solution that makes “building” a store and conducting transactions online easier and more affordable for small and mid-sized businesses. The solution provides merchants with the tools necessary to build an interactive Web site including a virtual storefront, Web design and hosting, traffic-driving capabilities and the ability to open a merchant account as well as process payments quickly and securely — all within one day.

To help small businesses benefit from online holiday shopping traffic, Wachovia Merchant Services will provide the store building portion of WMSesolutions, using standard templates, to merchants at no charge through December 31, 1999.

WMSesolutions is based on Excite@Home’s (Nasdaq: ATHM) e-commerce software and First Data’s Internet payment processing solutions. As part of the WMSesolutions package, businesses will have their new sites listed with Excite@Home’s new shopping portal, Excite Stores, located at [http://www.excitestores.com][1], allowing merchants to take advantage of the more than 2 billion page views that Excite generates monthly.

All e-commerce payment transactions will be processed through First Data’s SurePay(R) payment gateway. SurePay allows merchants to accept credit card transactions in real time, process check payments electronically via First Data subsidiary TeleCheck(R), and soon will enable merchants to accept cash payments over the Internet via First Data subsidiary Western Union(R). WMSesolutions will be one of the first solutions to accept and process customers’ TeleCheck electronic check payments via the Internet.

“WMSesolutions is a key component in Wachovia’s plan to help small and mid-sized businesses benefit from the global reach of the Internet,” said Charles M. Hegarty, president of Wachovia Bank Card Services. “This e-commerce solution will enable these businesses to enjoy the many benefits of being an e-tailer without having to host and maintain their newly developed sites.”

Wachovia will market this solution to both new and existing merchant customers in its operating areas in the Southeastern United States. This program further extends Wachovia Merchant Services’ business solution by offering payment capabilities including credit, debit and electronic check acceptance, making Wachovia Merchant Services a total transaction solution provider to retail and e-tail establishments.

“This e-commerce service launch is another important step in the continued execution of our merchant enablement strategy,” said John Duncan, executive vice president of Internet commerce at First Data Corp. “By working together, First Data and Wachovia are leveraging each other’s strengths to provide a high-quality business solution that enables merchants to thrive in today’s Internet economy.”

Merchants can access the WMSesolutions service by visiting [http://www.wmsesolutions.com][2].

About Wachovia

Wachovia Bank Card Services is a subsidiary of Wachovia Corporation, a $65.8 billion-asset interstate bank holding company with dual headquarters in Atlanta and Winston-Salem, N.C. Wachovia Bank Card Services is the nation’s 13th largest credit card issuer. Wachovia’s Web site is located at [http://www.wachovia.com][3].

About First Data

Atlanta-based First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) 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 good and services. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.firstdatacorp.com][4].

[1]: http://www.excitestores.com/
[2]: http://www.wmsesolutions.com/
[3]: http://www.wachovia.com/
[4]: http://www.firstdatacorp.com/

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ATM Fee War

When Santa Monica, CA’s ban on ATM surcharges for non-customers went into effect yesterday, Bank of America and Wells Fargo pulled the plug on access for non-customers. Both banks indicated they will take the same action if the ATM fee ban passed last week by San Franciscans also goes into effect. The decision to re-program ATMs in Santa Monica affected 33 machines. A similar move by both banks in San Francisco could affect nearly 500 ATMs. Yesterday’s retaliatory move by BofA and Wells drew major media attention with most newspapers this morning running front page stories detailing consumer frustration.

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Amazon NextCard

Amazon.com and NextCard will announce this afternoon a major strategic relationship to create customized credit card products for Amazon.com’s 13 million customers. The relationship is projected to generate $150 million in fees for Amazon.com. Under terms of the five-year agreement, which begins early next year, NextCard will be the exclusive provider of a unique cobranded Amazon.com NextCard credit card. The cobranded card will also include a customer loyalty program and customized e-commerce services. Amazon.com has also obtained a warrant to acquire up to 4.4 million shares of NextCard common stock, a stake of approximately 9.9 percent. The receivables generated from the VISA accounts, as well as the cobranded cardholder relationships, will be assets of NextBank, a wholly owned national bank subsidiary of NextCard.

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AmEx Biz Card Sweepstakes

American Express announced this morning it will pay off the outstanding credit card balances of twenty small firms. The ‘American Express Corporate Optima Card Millennium Sweepstakes’ will wipe out the outstanding balances, up to $20,000, of twenty business owners. Cardholders with an American Express small business credit card, including the ‘American Express Corporate Optima Card’ and ‘Delta Skymiles Card’ are automatically entered into the contest. AmEx also released a survey yesterday that estimates that small business owners will spend more than $5 billion this year for holiday related expenses for clients, employees and vendors.

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Online Shopping Triples

Ernst & Young yesterday released findings from its ‘Third Annual Online Retailing Report’ of 1,200 shoppers. E&Y found that the number of regular online holiday shoppers will almost triple from last year. In 1998, 23% of respondents did at least 10% of their holiday shopping online. In 1999, that number will be 67% according to the survey. The number of people doing at least half of their shopping online will increase by a factor of five. In 1998, only 4% of online shoppers did at least 50% of their holiday shopping online; in 1999 that number jumps to 19% of shoppers. Conversely, the number of online consumers who have no plans to shop online during the holidays dropped dramatically, from 49% to 11%. E&Y projects online sales for the holiday of $12-$15 billion with an estimate of total revenue for calendar year 1999 of $25-$30 billion.

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