Kahn Joins ePhones

ePhones.com announced the addition of several new executives to its senior management. Eric Kahn, Vice President of Marketing, joined ePhones.com from Visa USA; Dominic Constantino, Vice President of Business Marketing joined the company from Beyond.com; and Cassandra Kanuk, Director of Web Development, came from Netscape. These new additions follow the recent appointment of Steven Yeffa, formerly of Leasing Solutions, Inc., as Chief Financial Officer.

With over twenty years of corporate level brand management and marketing experience, Eric Kahn joined ePhones.com from Visa USA. At Visa, Kahn was Vice President of Consumer Product Management, building the consumer credit card business for the Classic, Gold and Platinum cards as well as developing new products. Prior to that Kahn was a Principal of Document Protection Services and Vice President of Credit Card Marketing for Wells Fargo Bank. Kahn also served as brand manager at The Clorox Company. He received his BBA from the University of Massachusetts and MBA from UCLA Graduate School of Business.

Dominic Constantino joined ePhones.com from Beyond.com, where he served as Director of Marketing for the Direct eCommerce Division. Constantino has over 12 years of information technology experience with Internet companies, peripheral manufacturers, industrial distributors and start-ups. Prior to Beyond.com, he served as Director of Marketing at Xirlink, and as National Sales Manager for All American Semiconductor. Constantino graduated from Cal Poly State University in 1987.

Prior to joining ePhones.com, Cassandra Kanuk served as Systems Engineer in the Website Operations team at Netscape. Kanuk has over 19 years experience in Internet, communications and information technology. Prior to Netscape, Kanuk was Webmaster at CyberStar and Information Systems Project Manager for Space Systems/Loral. Kanuk has published over sixty reviews in InfoWorld magazine and has contributed to over five internationally distributed computer magazines.

CFO Steven L. Yeffa has over nineteen years of senior level finance and corporate management experience. Prior to joining ePhones, he served as Executive Vice president and Chief Financial Officer for Leasing Solutions Inc., where he directed the worldwide financial operations of the publicly traded leasing company. Before Leasing Solutions, Yeffa was Vice President at Matsco Financial Corp. Yeffa is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of California and completed a degree in Lease Management at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He is the author of “Lessor’s Guide to Building a Relationship for Successful Funding.”

“Dominic, Steven, Eric and Cassandra bring years of valuable experience and proven talent,” says ePhones.com CEO Mike Merrill. “We’re building a world class team, and this core group represents the strong upward direction ePhones is taking in our continued growth and success.”

About ePhones.com

ePhones.com offers the widest selection of wireless services available online, including: cellular and PCS phones, accessories, pagers, wireless modems, long distance, and information services. With over 11 years experience in wireless, ePhones offers services through 44 carriers nationwide, including: AT&T Wireless (NYSE:T), Sprint PCS (NASDAQ:PCS) MCI Worldcom (NASDAQ:WCOM), Qwest (NASDAQ:QWST), SkyTel, and PageMart (NASDAQ:PMWI). Unlike other sites, every phone and rate plan ePhones offers is available to buy online.

ePhones.com is backed by U.S. Venture Partners, Alta Partners, and Alta Communications. The company is based in Fremont, CA, with retail stores in California, Washington and Utah, and is privately held.


VISA & Toys for Tots

eToys Inc., the leading Internet retailer of children’s products, and Visa U.S.A., the leading payment brand, are spreading holiday cheer to underprivileged children throughout the country through an easy, innovative online toy donation program.

For the second year in a row, eToys and Visa have partnered to create a convenient online location where consumers may contribute a toy to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots national holiday toy drive.

From now through Dec. 20, online shoppers may donate to Toys for Tots by logging on to the eToys site ([www.etoys.com/toysfortots][1]) and selecting from a number of popular toys, such as Koosh Catchers, Deluxe Art Sets and basketballs. Toys are available for donation at 50% off the regular retail price when purchasing with a Visa card.

During last year’s online holiday drive, 15,000 toys were donated to Toys for Tots over a seven-week span. eToys and Visa are predicting a substantial increase in this figure through the 1999 online donation program.

“eToys is in the business of bringing smiles to children. Together with Visa, we are proud to support such a worthy cause as Toys for Tots to help make a difference this holiday season,” said Toby Lenk, chief executive officer of eToys.

Based on a recent study conducted by Forrester Research, online shoppers will spend more than $10 billion this holiday season. Charities, such as Toys for Tots, are hoping that some of this new age consumer spending will trickle their way through online giving programs.

“eToys and Visa are helping bring the spirit of giving online,” said Major Bill Grein, vice president of the Toys for Tots Foundation. “Since people are pressed for time during the holidays, yet still want to give, the Internet is an easy way for people to help us make the holidays a little brighter for needy children.”

About eToys

Based in Santa Monica, eToys Inc. ([www.etoys.com][2]; AOL keyword: eToys; and [www.etoys.co.uk][3]) is the leading Internet retailer for children’s products, carrying more than 100,000 items, including both nationally advertised and specialty toys, software, videos, music, video games, books and baby-oriented products.

By combining this extensive selection, an attractive, easy-to-use Web site and excellent customer service, eToys offers consumers a unique one-stop source for children’s products. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, BabyCenter Inc. ([www.babycenter.com][4]), eToys offers Webby-award-winning content and community for new and expectant parents.

About Visa U.S.A.

Visa is the leading card brand and the largest payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders and global economy. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1.4 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year.

Visa’s more than 600 million cards are accepted at more than 17 million worldwide locations, including more than 500,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com][5].

About Toys for Tots

For more than 50 years, Toys for Tots has been the U.S. Marine Corps’ premier community action program and one of the nation’s flagship holiday charitable causes. Toys for Tots has donated more than 240 million toys to 120 million needy children since 1947.

[1]: http://www.etoys.com/toysfortots
[2]: http://www.etoys.com/
[3]: http://www.etoys.co.uk/
[4]: http://www.babycenter.com/
[5]: http://www.visa.com/


EBT Fights Day Care Fraud

The need for states to embrace a card-based point-of-sale system that can manage and distribute financial payments, attendance records, batch reports, and curb reporting fraud in the US government’s subsidized child care industry is growing. While unemployment has dropped to record lows since the Federal Government launched its “welfare to work” mandates two years ago, child-care enrollment has risen dramatically. The lack of automation at day care-centers nationwide has states wrestling with fraudulent time attendance and eligibility reporting, and overpaying day-care centers millions of dollars annually.

“Welfare fraud at child-care centers could be virtually eliminated if these centers were required to use an enhanced version of the point-of-sale card payment systems that 40 states currently use for financial payments. If the states make this a requirement, they could realize an enormous savings that could be used to support other programs that help the nation’s working poor,” declared John Wojcik, vice president, global business development, Hypercom Corporation, in his address at the Electronic Funds Transfer Association EBT “The Next Generation” conference. “Now is the time for states to embrace advanced payment systems, better serve their constituents and save millions of dollars annually.”

“Electronic payment technology has made significant strides in recent years. This is particularly true with the new interactive consumer touch-screen terminals, which are a perfect fit for the expansive network of US child care centers serving families on welfare,” Wojcik said. “Without such advanced online systems to verify eligibility and control fraud, it becomes virtually impossible to monitor benefits from welfare rolls that can change daily.”

Although 40 states already have EBT systems in place for financial payments to families in welfare programs, there is no mechanism for using that same technology to streamline the operation of government aided child-care centers, according to Wojcik.

“Menu-driven, screen-based card payment systems in state social service centers, child care homes, county offices and other public service buildings will give ready access to a wide range of government services and expand the use of EBT card service programs” Wojcik said. “Advanced card payment terminals that can help state governments better reach and serve those in need while also slashing fraud are here today. It is time to embrace this new technology and all of the advantages it affords.”

Hypercom Corp. (NYSE: HYC) is the single-source global provider of end-to-end electronic payment solutions, including card payment systems, peripherals, network products, software and e-commerce payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Hypercom markets its products in more than 70 countries through a global network of affiliates and offices in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com][1]

Hypercom is a registered trademark of Hypercom Corporation. All other products or services mentioned in this document are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of their respective owners.

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


New MasterCard Team

MasterCard International has formed a new ‘Global Mobile Commerce Team’ to focus on the convergence of the card payments and mobile telephony industries. The team will be led by Chris Jarman, VP of Electronic Commerce and Emerging Technologies. The team also includes key representatives from MasterCard, Maestro International, Europay International, Mondex International, and MAOSCO. The MasterCard group has established three distinct forums to involve key industry players in the mobile commerce initiative: a ‘Member Forum’, composed of MasterCard’s key international members; an ‘Industry Forum’, composed of key wireless technology organizations; and a ‘Network Operators Forum’. MasterCard is also an active participant in the WAP Forum and the Global Mobile Commerce Forum.


Prepaid Ripoffs

The American Public Communications Council is urging the FCC and the FTC to take action on deceptive advertising and practices by prepaid phone card companies. The APCC says prepaid phone cards are often marketed by advertising a specific per minute rate that has little or no relationship to the total charges consumers will actually incur. The trade association says many prepaid cards advertise rates as low as $.01 per minute, however, these advertised rates are misleading since consumers will incur hidden charges, terms, or conditions buried in small print or not disclosed at all. The APCC says consumers need to be aware of the hidden prepaid phone card costs that include connection fees ranging from $0.50 cents to $2.00 per call; surcharges, as high as $0.75 cents, for certain types of calls placed by the consumer; monthly or semi-monthly services fees that are automatically deducted whether or not calls are placed; and the termination of a consumer’s card account resulting in the remaining balance being erased when the balance is no longer sufficient to pay for the minimum connection and calling charge. The APCC notes many cards now require a minimum call duration. The APCC represents over 2,000 owners, operators, suppliers and manufacturers of public communications equipment and services.


EMV Certification

Europay and Mastercard this morning awarded Schlumberger worldwide EMV 3.1.1 Level 1 standard certification across its ‘MagIC 6000’ and ‘MagIC 9000’ point-of-sale terminal range. This certification guarantees any EMV-compliant smart card will be accepted by the terminal. Schlumberger terminals feature an advanced, flexible architecture that allows for the development of applications that can run stand-alone or simultaneously alongside others. ‘MagIC 6000’ is a compact desktop terminal for counter-based operations in all retail locations. ‘MagIC 9000’ is a portable terminal with a high-speed silent printer, which uses wireless communications.


Providian Dives Again

Providian Financial Corporation said Monday that it has received an inquiry from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal seeking information in connection with a civil investigation into credit card issuance and billing practices. In response to the inquiry, which the company received late Friday,

November 5, Providian Chief Public Policy Officer Konrad S. Alt issued the following statement:

“We have great respect for Attorney General Blumenthal and welcome his inquiry. We have confidence in the integrity of our business practices and are prepared to defend them. Providian is working hard to become an industry leader in customer service and satisfaction. We are optimistic that Attorney General Blumenthal will recognize the impressive strides Providian has already made toward achieving that objective. Naturally, we hope to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”

San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation ([http://www.providian.com][1]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers nationwide and offers credit cards in the United Kingdom. Providian serves a broad, diversified market with loan products that include credit cards, home equity loans, secured cards and membership services.

With a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, Providian’s mission is to help its customers build or rebuild, protect and responsibly use credit by providing a quality borrowing experience that leads to active and lasting customer relationships. The sixth largest bankcard issuer in the nation, Providian Financial has over $20 billion in assets under management and over 11 million customers.

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


TRM 3Q/99

TRM Corporation TRM Corporation announces its performance for the fiscal period ending September 30, 1999. Gross revenue for the quarter increased to $16.3 million from $15.8 million in the third quarter of 1998. Earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation increased 17% to $2.8 million from $2.3 for the same period the prior year. Net income, before the preferred dividend, was $206 thousand as compared with $484 thousand for the same period last year resulting in fully-diluted earnings per share, after the dividend, of -$0.02 as compared with $0.01 for the same period last year.

The Company successfully increased the expansion rate of its ATM operations during the third quarter, ending the period with 292 units deployed on September 30, 1999, a 107% increase in units over the previous quarter. In addition, TRM established itself as the first non-bank deployer of ATMs to significantly operate in both the United States and Europe having deployed units in the United Kingdom during the period. “We are very excited and optimistic about our ATM expansion, especially in Europe where the Company has a sizable infrastructure supporting over 8,000 CopyCenter placements in retail locations,” stated Fred Stockton, CEO and President. ATM operations revenue significantly increased 166% to $502 thousand as compared with $189 thousand in the previous quarter. Although the ATM business generated a net loss of $258 thousand during the quarter, the loss was as planned and primarily related to investment in the expansion of the business and the acceleration of machine roll-outs. TRM ended the quarter with an order backlog for new ATM sites in excess of 600 locations primarily in the United States.

The TRM CopyCenter business continues its healthy, strong cashflow as the NextGen(TM) unit replacement and optimization program has been completed resulting in labor cost savings and creating operating efficiencies. The CopyCenter operations generated $90 thousand of net income or $0.01 fully-diluted earnings per share after the preferred dividend for the quarter ended September 30, 1999 as compared with $81 thousand and $0.01 for the same period last year despite: 1) a $535 thousand increase in depreciation expense, 2) a 4% increase in retail sales discounts necessary to incent retailers to sign longer-term contracts (i.e. 3-5 year photocopy service agreements) and 3) non-recurring interest income of $235 thousand generated from the investment of the proceeds from the preferred stock offering realized in the same period last year but unavailable this period. As of September 30, 1999, 32,638 TRM CopyCenter locations were installed in North America and Europe.

Mr. Stockton noted, “With the operational changes in place to insure the continued growth and health of our CopyCenter business, we are poised to aggressively expand our ATM operations. We believe the tremendous opportunity to develop a global distribution network of connected ATMs through which not only cash but numerous other services and products may be delivered will enable TRM to truly become a rapidly growing enterprise.”

For more details on TRM’s 3Q/99 visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1])

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


Cap One Hires HR VP

Tim McGough, formerly Managing Partners of Hewitt associates (a management consultant firm) , joined Capital One as Vice president of Human Resources . Mr. McGough will be responsible for managing Capital One’s compensation, benefits and human resources payroll and information systems. Dennis Liberson , Capital One’s Senior Vice President for Human Resources said, ‘At Capital One we recognize that to create a world-class organization, we need a world-class human resources team. The human resources department enables Capital One to continue recruiting and retaining the high calibar of associates we employ around the world. We’re pleased that Tim joined our team and we’re excited about the knowledge and experience he will bring to our fast paced organization’.

Capital One is ranked by Fortune magazine as the 41st best place to work in the country. Capital One credits its innovative and groundbreaking human resource strategies for propelling it as a leading employer. Among the program that differentiate the company from other employers are the associate selection process ; a number of ongoing training and development courses ; outstanding benefits, including three weeks vacation ; and performance-based compensation.

Headquartered in Fall Church , Virginia , Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a holding company whose principal whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer financial products and services to consumers. Capital one’s subsidiaries collectively had 20.8 million customers and $18.5 billion in managed loans outstanding at September 30, 1999, and are among the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the World. Capital One is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘COF’.


StarMedia Prefers VISA

StarMedia Network, the leading Internet media company for Spanish- and Portuguese-language audiences worldwide, and Visa International, the “best way to pay and be paid” in Latin America and throughout the world, announced Monday that they have entered into a strategic e-commerce alliance to promote the use of Visa cards as the preferred method of online payment for visitors to StarMedia Network’s popular Shopping areas featuring premium local and international brands.

StarMedia Network Chairman and C.E.O. Fernando Espuelas made the announcement at the “Internet in Latin America” conference in Miami Beach, Florida.

Under the terms of the agreement, StarMedia Network, Visa International, and Visa Member banks in Latin America and the Caribbean, will collaborate on a number of “StarMedia Prefers Visa” and other e-commerce promotions, including a StarMedia Network CD-ROM mailing to select Visa cardholders. StarMedia Network and Visa International will also present e-commerce seminars and workshops to educate merchants and cardholders on the benefits of secure, “anywhere; anytime” online shopping.

“The strategic marketing partnership with Visa, the undisputed market leader, advances our dual objective of expanding and improving our e-commerce offerings to the growing community of StarMedia Network users and online shoppers throughout the Spanish and Portuguese-language speaking world,” said Espuelas. “The accompanying marketing campaign will also serve to educate users and retailers throughout the region on the benefits of making secure online shopping,” he added.

According to a recent study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group and Visa International, Latin America and Caribbean Region, Latin American online retailers will generate $77 million in sales in 1999. The BCG report forecasts online retailing in the region to grow as high as $3.8 billion by 2003. StarMedia Network Chairman and C.E.O. Espuelas cited this growth and the potential the region offers retailers and consumers alike; noting that the partnership with Visa International will allow StarMedia to expand its leadership position by providing the “best online shopping experience to its users.”

“It’s only natural that StarMedia Network and Visa International take a leadership role in developing e-commerce in Latin America. StarMedia Network is the leading Internet media company for Spanish and Portuguese-speaking users in the world today, with over 1.4 billion ‘page views’ last quarter alone, and close to 2 million e-mail subscribers. Similarly, Visa is the leading and most widely recognized payment system in the world — with more cards in circulation than all of our competitors combined, and with a card sales volume well-exceeding one trillion dollars,” said Jonathan Sanchez-Jaimes, President, Visa International, Latin America and Caribbean Region. “Our research shows us that Internet media companies with online shopping capabilities, such as StarMedia Network, will play an important part in the growth of Latin American e-commerce. Visa is — and will continue to be — part of that growth. Our agreement with StarMedia Network leads the way in ensuring that our Member banks, merchants and cardholders experience the full benefits of online shopping and secures Visa’s place as the Internet’s ‘natural currency,'” he added.

About StarMedia Network

StarMedia Network is the leading Internet media company targeting Latin America and other Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking markets worldwide. The company is committed to providing Spanish and Portuguese speakers with a complete selection of services and products that take full advantage of Internet technologies. StarMedia Network operates StarMedia ([http://www.starmedia.com][1]), the leading global online community for Spanish and Portuguese speakers; Periscopio ([http://www.periscopio.com][2]), a new, powerful information portal for Spanish speakers worldwide; LatinRed ([http://www.latinred.com][3]), one of the largest Spanish language online communities; OpenChile ([http://www.openchile.cl][4]), a local Chilean portal; Zeek! ([http://www.zeek.com.br][5]) and Cade? ([http://www.cade.com.br][6]), two of the leading online directories in Brazil; StarMedia Acceso/Acesso, a premium Internet access service in Latin America; StarMedia Broadband, StarMedia Network’s new broadband services arm; and StarMedia Mobile, its wireless division. Founded in 1996, the company employs over 600 people with operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela, and major U.S. cities.

About Visa

As the “World’s Best Way to Pay,” Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest payment system in the world with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including 8 million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(TM) programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are over 850 million Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cards, which generate more than US$1.4 trillion in annual volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at over 17 million worldwide locations, including at more than 500,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa, Latin America and Caribbean Region, Internet address is [http://www.Visalatam.com][7].

[1]: http://www.starmedia.com/
[2]: http://www.periscopio.com/
[3]: http://www.latinred.com/
[4]: http://www.openchile.cl/
[5]: http://www.zeek.com.br/
[6]: http://www.cade.com.br/
[7]: http://www.visalatam.com/



For more profitable marketing and customer management strategies, ScoreNet Service from Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc., now provides convenient delivery of revenue scores from all three major U.S. credit bureaus-most recently Equifax. Revenue scores help credit grantors find the “24-carat” opportunities in their prospect mailbase or customer portfolio by determining which customers have the potential to build and revolve large balances. In general, ScoreNet Service gives credit grantors more time to manage their portfolios by streamlining the time-consuming tasks of obtaining, auditing and processing credit bureau information, including risk, attrition, collection, bankruptcy and revenue scores.

“Obtaining regularly updated revenue scores and credit bureau information allows credit grantors to accurately segment their customer base and focus their marketing efforts on tomorrow’s most profitable accounts,” said David Klinetobe, ScoreNet product manager at Fair, Isaac. “Instead of requesting and auditing data from each of the three national credit bureaus, ScoreNet provides a single source for credit bureau information delivery, giving credit grantors more time to manage their portfolios.”

Klinetobe added that in addition to revenue scores, credit bureau attributes are also now available from Equifax via ScoreNet. “Attributes provide a more in-depth understanding of credit customers and are valuable in portfolio segmentation. Credit grantors can use them to tailor marketing and customer management strategies, using attributes for line increases, balance transfers and cross-sell programs.”

Fair, Isaac helps companies make faster, more profitable decisions about marketing, customers, operations and portfolios. Widely recognized for its pioneering work in predictive technology, the company provides advanced decision-making solutions to the financial services, retail, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries. Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Fair, Isaac employs 1600 people in 18 offices worldwide. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 1999, the company reported net income of $30 million on revenues of $277 million. For more information visit [http://www.fairisaac.com][1].

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