Oct Store Sales Rise

Retailers received more treats than tricks this October, as same-store sales for the month rose 3.7 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 Southwest and West (tied), the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast and the Southeast. 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.

“Spending for Halloween has been steadily growing over the past few years and has become a major holiday shopping period for consumers. Retailers also are benefiting from the continued strength of the economy. Given the current state of the economy and the pace of consumer spending, we anticipate a 3- to 5-percent same-store sales gain for the 28-day Christmas shopping season,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s Senior Economic Advisor.

Sales in the Midwest climbed 5.5 percent, with jumps of 5.7 percent in Wisconsin and Minnesota, 5.3 percent in Illinois and Ohio, and 5.2 percent in Michigan. Sales grew by 5.8 percent in Milwaukee, 5.3 percent in Minneapolis/St. Paul, 5.5 percent in Chicago, 5.6 percent in Cleveland and 5.7 percent in Detroit.

The Southwest’s and West’s sales rose 3.9 percent. In the Southwest, Texas’ sales climbed 4.5 percent, and both Oklahoma’s and Missouri’s rose 3.5 percent. Sales grew 5.1 percent in Austin, 5.0 percent in San Antonio, 4.7 percent in Houston and 4.4 percent in Dallas/Fort Worth. Sales rose 3.4 percent in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and grew 3.6 percent in Kansas City and 3.4 percent in St. Louis.

In the West, Hawaii jumped 5.5 percent, Colorado climbed 3.9 percent, Arizona increased 3.8 percent, California grew 3.4 percent and Washington rose 3.3 percent. Sales were up 3.5 percent in Denver, 3.4 percent in Phoenix and 3.5 percent in Portland. San Diego’s sales climbed 3.9 percent, the Bay Area’s rose 3.4 percent, Los Angeles’ grew 3.3 percent and Seattle’s increased 3.5 percent.

Sales rose 3.6 percent in the Mid-Atlantic, with Maryland up 3.9 percent, Pennsylvania up 3.6 percent, and New Jersey and Virginia up 3.4 percent. Sales grew 4.1 percent in the District of Columbia, 4.0 percent in Baltimore, 3.8 percent in Philadelphia and 3.5 percent in Pittsburgh.

The Northeast’s sales increased 2.3 percent. New York was up by 3.9 percent and Massachusetts grew 0.6 percent. New York City’s sales climbed 4.0 percent and Boston’s rose 0.8 percent.

The Southeast region grew by 2.1 percent. Sales rose 3.7 percent in Tennessee, 2.4 percent in The Carolinas, 2.0 percent in Louisiana, 1.8 percent in Georgia and 1.5 percent in Florida. Memphis’ sales grew 3.5 percent, Nashville’s rose 3.3 percent, New Orleans’ increased 2.0 percent and Atlanta’s grew 2.2 percent. Sales were up 2.6 percent in Orlando and 2.1 percent in Tampa, but fell 2.2 percent in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.

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 37 percent 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 [http://www.firstdatacorp.com][1].

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: 10/1/99-10/31/99)
November 4, 1999


Florida 1.5% Arizona 3.8% Illinois 5.3%
Miami/ Phoenix 3.4% Chicago 5.5%
Ft. Lauderdale -2.2%
Orlando 2.6% California 3.4% Michigan 5.2%
Tampa 2.1% Bay Area 3.4% Detroit 5.7%
Louisiana 2.0% Los Angeles 3.3% Minnesota 5.7%
New Orleans 2.0% San Diego 3.9% Minneapolis/
St. Paul 5.3%
Georgia 1.8% Oregon 3.7% Wisconsin 5.7%
Atlanta 2.2% Portland 3.5% Milwaukee 5.8%
Tennessee 3.7% Washington 3.3% Ohio 5.3%
Memphis 3.5% Seattle 3.5% Cleveland 5.6%
Nashville 3.3% Colorado 3.9%
The Carolinas 2.4% Denver 3.5% MID-ATLANTIC 3.6%
Hawaii 5.5% District of
Columbia 4.1%
SOUTHWEST 3.9% Pennsylvania 3.6%
Texas 4.5% NORTHEAST 2.3% Philadelphia 3.8%
Austin 5.1% Massachusetts 0.6% Pittsburgh 3.5%
Dallas/Ft. Worth 4.4% Boston 0.8% New Jersey 3.4%
Houston 4.7% New York 3.9% Virginia 3.4%
San Antonio 5.0% New York City 4.0% Maryland 3.9%
Missouri 3.5% Baltimore 4.0%
Kansas City 3.6%
St. Louis 3.4%
Oklahoma 3.5%
Oklahoma City 3.4%
Tulsa 3.4%

SOURCE TeleCheck Services, Inc.

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


NDC Signs BC/BS Ma

NDC eCommerce today announced an agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) to deliver end-to- end credit card and check processing services for BCBSMA’s extensive network of health care providers.

Under the agreement, NDC eCommerce will provide credit card authorization and settlement resolution, as well as check guarantee and recovery services. BCBSMA serves thousands of providers including primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, and health care facilities and offers enhanced products and services that satisfy rising patient expectations.

“BCBSMA is very pleased to be working with NDC eCommerce to offer our providers NDC’s value-added payment support services. These services fit perfectly with our goal of providing our members and providers with services and technology that help reduce medical operating expenses and that simplify and streamline business transactions,” said Thomas B. Allen, product support manager – Provider Technology Group for BCBSMA.

This agreement also expands and enhances BCBSMA’s services to health care providers by combining NDC’s electronic commerce solutions for payment processing with BCBSMA’s HealthWire(R) and Point of Service Device networks, health care eligibility, managed care and all-payer claims processing services the company has provided since 1992.

“We are delighted BCBSMA has chosen NDC to provide members and providers solutions that complement financial and practice management systems and help reduce provider risk,” said Paul R. Garcia, NDC eCommerce CEO.

National Data Corporation (NYSE: NDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce solutions and health information services that add value to customer operations.

This document may contain forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s operations, current and future performance and financial condition. These items involve risks and uncertainties such as product demand, market and customer acceptance, the effect of economic conditions, competition, pricing, development difficulties, the ability to consummate and integrate acquisitions, and other risks detailed in the Company’s SEC filings. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise any of these statements to reflect future circumstances or the occurrence of unanticipated events.


Oberthur Leadership

Oberthur Card Systems, as a result of its recent acquisition of De La Rue Card Systems, has become the world’s largest microprocessor smart card producer. Oberthur card sales volumes are estimated to reach $120 million for FY 99 and will include the production of more than 192 million mag stripe cards and 14 million smart cards. The acquisition has quadrupled Oberthur’s annual revenues from $125 million to $490 million. The firm now employs nearly 3,000 people with half of the employees working from six U.S. locations. Oberthur’s $318 million acquisition of De La Rue’s smart card division was finalized Oct. 1.



Dublin, Ireland-based Card Services International conducted the world’s first multi-currency, cross border e-purse transaction yesterday. The transaction was initiated at a British Airways service counter in Johannesburg International Airport, where value was loaded to a passenger smart card in South African Rand, the equivalent value was later cashed in Pounds Sterling at Terminal 1 in London’s Heathrow Airport. The transaction was one of an initial group of transactions carried out by British Airways passengers, using a new global payments system, ‘ChipCASH’, designed and developed by CSI. EMV-based ‘ChipCASH’ allows value to be stored on a smart card and subsequently cashed in any one of 25 different currencies. The CSI Processing Center in Dublin is equipped to accept transactions from 70 countries and 250 locations world-wide via the airline industry’s SITA network and the Internet. Firms accepting ‘ChipCASH’ include: Travelex, Thomas Cook, NatWest Bank, ABSA Bank (South Africa) and Royal Bank of Canada.


FDR Buys GE Center

First Data Resources announced Wednesday evening it has signed a definitive agreement with a division of GE Capital to purchase the assets of a statement print, mail and card embossing facility in Macon, Ga. Approximately 200 employees will become First Data employees on Nov. 15, when the transaction is expected to close. Projected 1999 volumes at the Macon operation are about 300 million statements printed and mailed and nearly 20 million plastics embossed and mailed from the facility. The Macon facility will become part of First Data’s Delivery Operations organization, which includes other print, mail and plastics embossing facilities in Omaha, Neb. and Chesapeake, Va. This acquisition expands the relationship First Data began with GE Capital last year when GE Capital selected First Data for bankcard and private label card processing.


San Fran Ban

San Franciscans voted this week to approve ‘Proposition F’, the initiative to ban ATM surcharges, by an overwhelming majority. The action makes San Francisco the nation’s third city to adopt an ATM fee ban, following Santa Monica and San Diego. The San Francisco ban was driven in part by the United Steel Workers of America and its beef with Wells Fargo. The USWA says it will help run similar campaigns across California until Wells Fargo stops lending money to Oregon Steel for their alleged illegal union busting activity. Meanwhile the CO-OP ATM Network said last night it does not believe that the ATM surcharge ban rulings in cities like San Diego and Santa Monica, nor the vote to ban ATM surcharging in San Francisco, will hold up against national banks or federal credit unions’ chartering structures. Indeed the California Bankers Association filed a federal lawsuit yesterday seeking to preserve its federal regulatory oversight which pre-empt local regulations. The CBA also requested a TRO to block the ATM fee bans.


Euronet 3Q/99

Euronet Services Inc. announced record revenues of $11.8 million during the third quarter of 1999. The operating loss was $5.6 million for the quarter, a 19% decrease from the previous quarter.

The Company has shown consistent improvement in its results over the past three quarters. The operating loss and negative EBITDA have both decreased for the last three consecutive quarters, and negative EBITDA reached an all-time low of $3.1 million in the third quarter. Apart from costs associated with the redeployment of ATMs in the third quarter, direct costs of the ATM network operations would also have decreased over the last three quarters. Salaries and benefit expenses fell for the first time from the second to third quarters.

Michael Brown, Euronet’s Chairman and CEO, said, “We are very pleased with this quarter’s results. We believe reaching EBITDA positive for the ATM network during the fourth quarter is attainable based on the decrease in ATM operating costs and growth in ATM usage we are seeing. In Poland in particular, the monthly number of transactions on our ATMs has more than doubled since the beginning of the year. In the U.K., the size of our network increased from 46 to 109 ATMs during the quarter, and we now have over 130 off-premise convenience ATMs — more than any other independent deployer in the country.”

Software revenues for the third quarter totalled $4.8 million, or 41% of total revenues. Mr. Brown commented, “As we expected, we are seeing slower software sales in the third and fourth quarter of this year due to the lead-up to the year 2000. However, we have successfully widened and quickened our software delivery channel, which should enhance this division’s performance once sales pick up again in the new year.”

As of September 30, Euronet owned and/or operated a total of 1,817 ATMs, compared with 1,644 ATMs at the end of the second quarter. 82% of the ATMs are owned by Euronet as part of its proprietary network, and 18% are bank-owned ATMs operated by Euronet under outsourcing agreements. Euronet owns and/or operates ATMs in Hungary, Poland, Germany, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, the U.K., and the U.S.

Established in 1994, Euronet Services Inc. is a leading provider of electronic financial solutions and transaction processing services. Euronet operates a network of over 1,800 ATMs in Europe and the U.S., and provides an integrated software suite for electronic payment and transaction delivery systems compatible with the IBM AS/400 computer. With offices in eight countries on two continents, Euronet offers ATM network development and participation, outsourced management solutions, comprehensive software solutions, and professional and consulting services to retail banks and companies in more than 70 countries around the world.

For more information on Euronet’s financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


Wireless ATM Locator

MasterCard and CA-based NeoPoint have teamed up to offer an ATM locator via NeoPoint’s smartphones. The service uses the location-based, wireless portal technology offered by myAladdin.com. MyAladdin.com is an information service that integrates wireless devices with the Internet, designed to add intelligence to raw data services. The service also utilizes GPS capabilities. The MasterCard ATM locator service, for MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus brands, is available on MasterCard’s website and will now be accessible to mobile users through NeoPoint smartphones as well as other wireless handsets, portable digital assistants, and pagers.


Dominican Republic AmEx Cards

Banco del Progreso and American Express today announced the launch of three Banco del Progreso American Express charge and credit cards in the Dominican Republic. The new Cards – Personal and Gold charge cards and a credit card – are denominated in the Dominican pesos, issued by Banco del Progrso and accepted on the American Express global merchant network. Cardmembers will enjoy Emergency Card Replacement and Travel Assistance at 1,700 American Express Travel Services Offices in 130 countries worldwide.

“Banco del Progrso has always provided Dominican customers with the highest level of banking services and customer convenience,” said Pedro Castillo, CEO of Banco del Progreso. “These new Cards with American Express will significantly broaden our card portfolio and enable us to offer products targeted at each major segment of the Dominican market. We are very proud to be introducing the American Express Card since it is a product that adheres so closely to our tradition of excellence in quality that we offer our customers.”

“This alliance with Banco del Progreso reinforces the expansion of our global network strategy in Latin America and Caribbean and allows us to successfully build our market share in the region,” said Jim Li, president of American Express Global Network Services. “We have established very productive parnerships with a select group of institutions around the world. These partners offer a whole range of American Express Cards to their customers, and we have every confidence that we will repeat the success of these relationships with Banco del Progreso.”

The Bando del Progreso American Express Cards feature a wide variety of benefits, including:

* 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week customer services and emergency Card replacement;

* Acceptance by American Express global merchant network;

* Services at more than 1,700 American Express Travel Services locations in more than 130 countries; * Travel Accident Insurance.

In addition, all Cardmembers will benefit from American Express Emergency Assistance and Gold and Personal will have automatic collision damage waiver (CDW) car rental insurance (in the USA). Gold Cardmembers will also enjoy American Express Concierge Service and Special Events.

While continuing to grow its proprietary card business, American Express has been aggressively pursuing its strategy of opening its merchant network and its card product portfolio to other card issuers around the world. In the last few years it has developed 54 such partnerships arrangements in nearly 60 countries.

Banco del Progreso, founded in 1974, is one of the largest financial institutions in the Dominican Republic. It has 23 offices in 15 cities in the Dominican Republic, and one of the most extensive ATM networks in the country, all of which provide services to major financial and tourist centers.

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services provider founded in 1850. The company operates through three main subsidiaries: American Express Travel Related Services Co., Inc., American Express Financial Advisors and American Express Bank. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.


Debit Card Phenomenon

VISA said yesterday that its ‘VISA Check Card’ has been the fastest growing product in VISA’s history and has re-shaped consumer behavior in regards to money management. To quantify consumer attitudes toward new and emerging payment technology, ‘VISA Check Card’ sponsored a recently completed Gallup survey of 1,252 American debit cardholders who have used their card in the past three months. Since obtaining a debit card, 58 percent of cardholders report that they are writing checks less frequently for payment, and 40 percent are using cash less frequently to make purchases. Cardholders overwhelmingly site convenience (31 percent) and ease-of-use (19 percent) as the top benefits of using debit cards over cash and checks. Additionally, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of debit cardholders always prefer to use debit over checks in payment situations, while 15 percent of cardholders always prefer debit to making purchases with cash.


Fast Growing Triton

For the third consecutive year, Triton of Long Beach, Mississippi has been named one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc. magazine. In its annual ranking of the Inc. 500, the publication ranked Triton #94 of 500 on the publication’s guide to the fastest growing private companies in America, up from #123 in 1998. Triton ranked #30 in its first year on the list in 1997.

“A repeat performance is no small feat, considering that the Inc. 500 measures percentage revenue growth,” said Mike Hopman, staff writer for Inc. magazine. “Every year a business records blistering growth, it becomes more difficult for it to repeat its performance the following year.”

Triton’s president, Ernest L. Burdette, credits much of the company’s third-time appearance on the list to the international initiative launched by Triton last year to bring off-site ATMs to convenient consumer locations around the world. The strategy, specifically targeting Canada and Latin America, boosted export sales from $1 million in 1997 to $12 million in 1998, far exceeding the company’s goals and fueling overall growth in 1998 of approximately 35 percent.

“Making the Inc. 500 list two times was a tremendous honor; making it three years running is extraordinary,” said Dr. Burdette. “If I had to pinpoint the reasons for Triton’s success, I would say that we truly listen to our customers and deliver what they want in terms of product features, support services and pricing. That’s been key in our anticipating and understanding the off-premise ATM marketplace. It’s guided our success in strategically identifying new markets as well as developing new approaches for existing concepts.”

In the same week that the Inc. 500 rankings were released, Triton was also named the third fastest-growing company in Mississippi as part of The Mississippi Business Journal’s “Fast 40” ranking. The list of the 40 fastest growing privately owned companies in the state is sponsored by Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes law firm, GodwinGroup, KPMG Peat Marwick and the Mississippi Business Journal. Winners were ranked based on revenue growth over a three-year period.

About Triton

As the leading provider of cash-dispensing ATMs for off-premise locations, Triton is committed to redefining and leading the retail market for cash delivery systems. Triton is the third largest manufacturer of ATMs and ATM management software in the U.S. and has more than 35,000 locations worldwide. The company is headquartered in Long Beach, Mississippi. For more information, visit the Triton website at [http://www.tritonatm.com][1].

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


Paymentech & SoftCart

Mercantec Inc., a leading provider of Internet commerce software products and services, and Paymentech, the merchant processing solution for Bank One, have teamed up to make implementing credit card processing easier for businesses selling goods and services over the Internet. The online payment processing leaders will help commerce service providers deploying Mercantec’s industry leading SoftCart e-commerce software to offer simple and instant credit card processing set-up.

The Mercantec and Paymentech solution allows small-to medium-sized merchants to establish a merchant account ID online and configure the SoftCart storefront for Internet credit card processing. Merchants link directly from SoftCart to the payment application via Mercantec’s Merchant Connection Web site to apply for their merchant ID. The remaining configuration and setup happens automatically and requires no involvement from the merchant or their CSP.

The joint e-commerce solution greatly reduces the time it takes for merchants to open up shop. In addition, the only effort required by the merchant is executed from within the Mercantec store management environment, which is part of SoftCart.

“Until now, each individual business went to separate vendors in order to secure credit card services,” said Andrew Parker, Mercantec president and CEO. “Through this system, we bring the bank to the merchant with one click. It is part of our larger goal to make it very easy to do business over the Web. We’re happy that Paymentech, as Bank One’s merchant processing solution, shares our vision and commitment to e-commerce.”

“This will be a prosperous combination because together we make it easier for merchants to get paid,” said Pamela H. Patsley, CEO and president of Paymentech. “Mercantec is the e-commerce software leader, as evident by their strong network of service providers.”

Mercantec SoftCart is already the leading e-commerce software delivered through ISPs and Web hosting providers. SoftCart has been endorsed by many of the world’s leading Internet commerce service providers (CSPs), including EarthLink, MindSpring, Interliant (Sage Networks) and Verio, and is deployed by thousands of merchants. SoftCart 5.0 is a robust, easy-to-use electronic commerce solution that offers Internet Service Providers maximum performance and security, making it easier than ever for them to deliver and support the electronic commerce demands of their merchants.

The solution is available at the Mercantec Merchant Connection Web site. Merchant Connection is an added value service for merchants of Mercantec’s service provider customers who are using the SoftCart. The Web site will provide merchants with unprecedented, immediate and comprehensive access to e-commerce resources, services offerings and add-on products to make their online business a success.

“This solution fits well into our overall vision of Perpetual Commerce,” Parker said. “We believe the future of e-commerce among these smaller businesses is dependent on our ability as a provider of software and services to make establishing that business as easy as possible for the merchant. This solution is a step in the process to deliver on that vision.”

About Paymentech

Paymentech ([http://www.paymentech.com][1]), founded in 1985, delivers premier electronic payment solutions for merchant acquiring, point-of-sale transaction processing and commercial card programs. Jointly owned by Bank One and First Data Corporation, the company is the nation’s second largest processor of bankcard transactions, a leader in Internet payments, and the merchant processing solution for Bank One. Paymentech processes approximately 2.5 billion bankcard transactions annually with $75 billion in credit card sales volume.

About Mercantec, Inc.

Established in 1995, Mercantec, Inc. is a leading provider of software products and services that enable Internet commerce. Mercantec distributes complete e-commerce solutions through leveraged channels to small to medium sized businesses. Among those channels are service providers, financial organizations, and Internet content providers. Mercantec’s service provider channel is more than 160 strong and includes some of the industry’s leaders, such as Verio/Hiway Earthlink, MindSpring and Interliant (Sage Networks). Among those in the financial channel are American Express and DataPro Software. For additional company or product information, visit the Mercantec Web site, [http://www.mercantec.com][2].

[1]: http://www.paymentech.com/
[2]: http://www.mercantec.com/