ACE Cash Execs

ACE Cash Express, Inc., the nation’s largest check-cashing chain and a significant provider of related retail financial services, announced that Frank A. Dudowicz has joined ACE as the new vice president and chief marketing officer. Dudowicz will direct the company’s marketing strategy and implementation. Dudowicz is a seasoned marketing professional with broad experience gained at three major companies — Scott Paper, Campbell Soup and most recently at Quaker State.

Dudowicz brings a strong consumer product focus. He has conducted in- depth consumer research and subsequent product development. Dudowicz will help ACE expand its array of retail financial services and execute targeted marketing campaigns.

ACE has also formed a communications and government relations’ department lead by Eric C. Norrington, previous vice president of marketing. The new department was formed to proactively manage the complex legislative activity in the 28 states and the District of Columbia where ACE provides retail financial services. As the new vice president of communications and government relations, Norrington is responsible for corporate communications, investor relations, media relations and government relations. Norrington joined ACE in 1993, and has made significant contributions to the growth of the Company.

“This strategic transition strengthens the ACE management team and further supports our growth initiatives,” said Jay B. Shipowitz, senior vice president and chief financial officer of ACE. “Frank is joining ACE at a critical time in our evolution. He will play a key role in the positioning and introduction of several new products and services such as our national payday loan product through Goleta National Bank and our Automatic Check Cashing Machine. In addition, Eric’s industry expertise and six years directing ACE’s marketing makes him the natural leader for the new communications and government relations department.”

ACE Cash Express, Inc. is headquartered in Irving, Texas and is the largest owner, operator and franchiser of check-cashing stores in the United States. Founded in 1968, the Company currently has a network of 941 stores, consisting of 805 company-owned stores and 136 franchised stores in 28 states and the District of Columbia. ACE offers a broad range of financial and check-cashing services and is one of the largest providers of MoneyGram wire transfer transactions. In addition, ACE offers money orders, small consumer loans, bill payment services, and prepaid local and long distance telecommunication services. The Company’s website is found at [http://www.acecashexpress.com][1].

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

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Bad Debt Sinks

Charge-offs declined to their lowest level in more than three years according to data released this morning by Fitch IBCA. Charge-offs, among $207 billion in credit card-backed bonds, dropped to 5.21% for the September collection period. According to historical data maintained by Fitch IBCA, chargeoffs have been well above the current level since August 1996 when they stood at 5.19%. The good news may be short lived as 60+ day delinquency drifted upwards in September to 3.10% from 3.00% in the previous period. Monthly payment rates backed down in September after growing steadily all year but remain 175 basis points above last year’s MPR. The combination continues to affect portfolio returns.

CREDIT CARD SECURITIZATION PERFORMANCE

Period CO GY MP DL SP
Sep99 5.21% 18.78% 16.84% 3.10% 5.89%
Aug99 5.58% 19.62% 16.99% 3.00% 5.81%
Jul99 5.55% 19.04% 16.56% 2.96% 5.80%
Jun99 5.75% 18.86% 16.44% 2.95% 5.63%
May99 5.95% 19.71% 16.36% 3.03% 6.04%
Apr99 5.91% 18.65% 15.96% 3.02% 5.64%
Mar99 5.94% 20.24% 16.87% 3.14% 5.92%
Feb99 6.05% 19.49% 15.44% 3.25% 5.69%
Jan99 6.10% 19.23% 15.82% 3.28% 5.37%

CO-chargeoffs; GY-gross yield; MP-monthly payment rate; DL- 60+ day delinquency rate; SP-3-month excess spread
Source: Fitch IBCA

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OneCore & Advanta Team

OneCore.com (www.onecore.com), a new breed of financial service offering small and mid-sized businesses an alternative to traditional business banking, announced nationwide commercial availability of OneCore Credit Services. The new credit service will give OneCore.com members the ability to transfer funds from a credit line directly into their core operating account from any Web browser. In conjunction with Advanta Bank Corp., the leading business-to-business credit card company, OneCore.com will offer business credit cards which carry credit lines of up to $100,000 with an interest rate as low as 9.9% on cash advances, balance transfers and purchases. The addition of this credit capability augments OneCore.com’s existing suite of online services that provide businesses with the control, convenience and flexibility they need to manage their finances.

OneCore.com acts like an EFO (Electronic Financial Officer), or a complement to existing CFOs, helping companies manage financial tasks more efficiently so they can focus on growth, rather than tedious paperwork. Through a single, secure online account, OneCore.com members can access a powerful suite of fully-integrated services to handle cash management, bill payment, payroll, 401(k) plan needs, credit services and more, while earning money market returns on operating balances. OneCore.com also integrates seamlessly with all the major business accounting software packages.

OneCore Credit Services provides small and mid-sized businesses with an even greater level of service and integration. OneCore.com members can apply for an Advanta BusinessCard online and receive approval in as little as 60 seconds. Because OneCore.com maintains one secure, centralized database of member information, a OneCore.com member never has to fill in basic application information; the system automatically generates the correct form, with most information already provided. Members can log onto OneCore.com at any time to view the status of the application.

Once approved, members can use their business credit card in three ways: (i) through a cash advance executed via an online transfer (ii) as a traditional credit card for business purchases and other valuable business needs, (iii) and with convenience checks, which enable members to write checks against their approved credit line. The most revolutionary aspect of the new service is that once a cash advance is complete, the funds go directly into a member’s core operating account and immediately begin earning money market returns on that money. Additionally, since OneCore.com provides integrated services, members can see when operating balances are too low. In these cases, the member will now have the ability to draw from their existing credit line to cover expenses or payroll.

“By-and-large, small and mid-sized businesses depend on their primary financial partner to provide some type of credit capability,” said Amy Levy, analyst with Summit Strategies. “By adding this capability to their existing services, OneCore.com strengthens its position in the market and heightens the member experience.”

The Cards – Options and Personalization

OneCore Credit Services comes with two options for business credit cards, the Advanta MasterCard Executive BusinessCard(R) and the Advanta Bonus Miles BusinessCard. Both cards have no annual fee, quarterly and annual expense reporting, full auto collision and damage coverage as well as theft and damage protection for all auto rentals charged on the business card.

The Advanta Executive BusinessCard carries a prestige appeal, typically with higher credit lines, lower APRs and greater amenities including free legal referrals and roadside service. Business owners can also add additional employees to their account, set spending limits and receive detailed quarterly expense reports per employee. The Advanta Bonus Miles BusinessCard provides one mile for every dollar purchase charged on the card and enables the member to purchase an airline ticket on almost any airline for travel anywhere in the continental United States for only 25,000 miles. Unlike other travel reward programs, there are no spending caps or blackout dates.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with OneCore.com,” said Dave Tomlinson, Chief Marketing Officer of Advanta. “Both our companies strive to provide exceptional financial services to businesses and this integrated offering will set a new standard for innovation in the business credit card marketplace.”

“Adding credit capabilities to our mix of integrated financial services is a monumental step for OneCore.com,” said Jack Littman-Quinn, president and CEO of OneCore.com. “We’ve been working day and night to find the right product and partner to meet the needs of our members and we believe our offering with Advanta really adds an extra level of ‘value-added’ service to the credit line product.”

About Advanta

Advanta Corporation is a highly focused financial services company with 2,700 employees, over $12 billion in managed assets and approximately $8.3 billion in assets serviced for third parties. Advanta Corporation provides consumers and small businesses with innovative products and services including mortgages, equipment leases, business credit cards, insurance and deposit products. The Company also provides a full range of loan purchasing and contract servicing to the mortgage industry.

About OneCore.com

OneCore.com is a new breed of financial service offering small and mid-sized businesses an alternative to traditional business banking. Through a single, secure online account, OneCore.com members can access a powerful suite of fully-integrated services to handle cash management, bill payment, payroll, 401(k) plans, merchant accounts, leases and now credit anytime, anywhere, while earning money market returns on operating balances. All accounts are offered through OneCore Securities, Inc., a registered broker/dealer and a wholly owned subsidiary of OneCore.com. OneCore.com and OneCore Securities, Inc. are located in Bedford, Mass. and can be reached at 1-888-ONE-CORE. For more information, view the company’s Web site at [www.onecore.com][1].

OneCore.com accounts are protected up to $25 million, including Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) coverage of $500,000 (cash claims limited to $100,000) and Travelers Insurance coverage of $24.5 million. Investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any other government agency, and rates of return are not guaranteed. Although a money market fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in a fund. Protection by SIPC and Travelers Insurance does not cover fluctuations in the market value of investments. Prospectuses for the money market funds and the funds offered through OneCore Securities, Inc.’s 401(k) plan services are available by calling OneCore Securities, Inc. at 1-888-ONE-CORE. Investors should read the prospectus carefully before investing. OneCore Securities, Inc. is a member of the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., and a member of SIPC.

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

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SLMsoft Certifies Tidel ATMs

SLMsoft.com, Inc., a leading global provider of electronic financial transaction solutions for the e-commerce market, Monday announced certification of Tidel Technologies’ dial-up ATM machines. The certification enables SLMsoft.com to support Tidel’s ATMs on a national and global basis, and enables Tidel dealers and distributors to offer consumers a wider choice of transaction processing capabilities to meet market demands.

“SLMsoft.com’s certification of our ATMs will greatly enhance processing options for our clients,” said Mark Levenick, President and COO of Tidel. “We are impressed with the extensive capabilities of SLMsoft.com’s system, and their ability to rapidly achieve certification for our machines utilizing extensive in-house engineering resources. SLMsoft.com is renowned for quality and service, and their strong presence in the U.S. and around the globe will provide our clients with the kind of support they desire from a single-source provider.”

SLMsoft.com’s financial transaction management products and services will provide Tidel clients with comprehensive ATM and transaction gateway services, including multi-currency and multi-language capabilities, 24×7 customer support, ATM card issuance, online and offline debit card issuance, driving ATMs, merchant card processing, authorizing transactions, design and production of cards, card management systems, 800 service for card activation, maintaining cardholder files, balancing and settlement processing, and network gateway services.

“Tidel is a leader in dial-up ATMs, and has established itself as a pioneer in the development of cost-effective cash delivery systems for the retail market,” said Govin Misir, Chairman and CEO of SLMsoft.com. “Tidel has distinguished itself as one of the fastest growing manufacturers of dial-up ATMs, with more than 20,000 locations in its international network of ATMs. There is a large market for Tidel’s products, and certifying their machines allows us to offer our services to their rapidly expanding base of clients in 36 countries worldwide.”

SLMsoft.com’s ATM services are flexible, scalable, and fully customizable. Customer features include balance inquiries, withdrawals, funds transfers, deposits, viewing previous transactions, and statement printing.

About Tidel

Tidel Technologies, Inc. is a Texas-based manufacturer of automated teller machines and cash security equipment designed for specialty retail marketers. Tidel pioneered the dial-up ATM in 1992, and is the fastest growing major U.S. manufacturer of ATMs. Tidel’s common stock trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market(R) under the symbol ATMS.

About SLMsoft.com

Founded in 1986, SLMsoft.com is a single-source global provider of end-to-end electronic commerce solutions for financial institutions, health care and retail organizations using open system technologies. SLMsoft.com is the first to offer the financial market the compatibility, flexibility, and upward scalability necessary for global electronic service delivery. Its ESP-Link(TM) suite of totally secure e-commerce solutions include ATM networks and services; Internet and personal computer banking, including check imaging and core processing; point-of-sale; and debit, credit and smart cards. SLMsoft.com, with over 700 employees in 30 offices worldwide, serves 1,500 customers in 52 countries on five continents.

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Info Sharing Stinks

Americans have voiced a strong discontent with credit card issuers who share their personal information with third parties or affiliates without permission. New research, released by FL-based PSI Global this morning, found that 94% of U.S. consumers do not want a financial services provider to share information with third parties unless they give express permission. In addition, 65% of consumers indicated that they do not want their financial institution to share their account information even with an affiliate organization. According to the study, consumers are a bit more tolerant about the use of financial information within an institution. For example, 51% of U.S. consumers agreed that an institution should use customer financial information in order to provide them with better service and products.

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True Co-Planar Card

Standard Register unveiled ‘I.D.eal Choice’ Monday, an integrated plastic laser card and paper carrier. Designed for issuers of identification, membership and loyalty cards, ‘I.D.eal Choice’ features a thin, durable plastic card that is smudge proof, water-resistant, and accommodates both four-color and spot process images. Once printed by Standard Register, cards are combined with a paper carrier into a single flat sheet to form the industry’s only true co-planar card. Personalized information is then imaged onto the integrated card and carrier using a high-speed or desktop laser printer, without pack buildup or special form-feeding equipment. I.D.eal Choice’s simultaneous imaging process also eliminates the possibility of mismatched cards and associated information.

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IClickCharge Signs First Deals

1ClickCharge, the pioneering single-click Internet payment service, announced its first wave of deals with @Ventures portfolio companies, OneCore.com, Intelligent/Digital and ThingWorld.com. All three companies have signed letters of intent and are currently working with 1ClickCharge to provide integrated products and services for their customers. @Ventures is CMGI’s venture capital affiliate.

1ClickCharge joined CMGI as a majority-owned operating company just over a month ago. Today’s announcement demonstrates the synergies among CMGI’s and @Ventures’ combined network of more than 50 operating and portfolio companies. Companies within the network are able to leverage each other’s distribution, technologies, business opportunities and customers.

“Five weeks after becoming a CMGI company, we are announcing partnerships and have a very full sales pipeline. Companies such as OneCore.com, Intelligent/Digital and ThingWorld.com are eager to take advantage of our 100% outsourced service and begin building new revenue models without any of the hassles typically associated with e-commerce infrastructure,” said Scott Samios, Vice President of Partner Development at 1ClickCharge.

OneCore.com ([http://www.onecore.com][1]) offers small to mid-sized companies an alternative to traditional business banking. Through a single, secure online account, businesses have access to a powerful suite of integrated financial management tools. Intelligent/Digital ([http://www.intelligentdigital.com][2]) offers leading edge `market-making’ technologies and services that facilitate real-time interaction and live trade between the buying and selling communities in business-to-business marketplaces.

ThingWorld.com ([http://www.thingworld.com][3]) allows content owners to put the power of online marketing in the hands of their consumers by offering engaging, interactive content – known as `Things’ – that can be easily taken, collected and shared. The ThingWorld.com Network, which distributes Things to online users and is currently comprised of 9 major portals and communities, reaches over 91 million consumers a month. “To date, we are seeing a 28% click-through rate for all Things,” said Steve Barlow, Chairman and CTO of ThingWorld.com. “1ClickCharge will allow us to easily add a more robust e-commerce revenue stream to our business.”

“We are extremely pleased to be working with leading companies such as OneCore.com, ThingWorld.com, and Intelligent/Digital to allow them to offer their customers the simplest and most secure method for making purchases under $20 on the web,” added Heidi R. Goff, President and CEO of 1ClickCharge.

About 1ClickCharge(TM)

1ClickCharge’s web payment service, scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2000, makes credit cards perform like cash on the Internet. With its patented authentication technology, 1ClickCharge gives consumers the ability to easily purchase web content on a pay-per-use basis in small dollar amounts. Because 1ClickCharge is 100% outsourced, merchants will quickly realize profits without the technical hassles typically associated with setting up their own Internet payment service. 1ClickCharge’s mission is to lead the industry in single-click Internet payments under $20, a market space it calls Convenience e-Commerce(TM), beginning with the web content and information needs of business executives, IT professionals and online investors. The company is led by Heidi R. Goff, President and CEO, a 20-year senior management veteran of MasterCard, GlobalPay, ADP and IBM; and Brian Smiga, SVP of Marketing and Business Development, formerly co-founder of software companies Actioneer.com and DaytoDay. 1ClickCharge is a service of 1ClickBrands, LLC, a majority-owned operating company of CMGI, Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI). Visit the company’s Web site at [www.1clickcharge.com][4].

About @Ventures and CMGI

With more than 50 companies, CMGI, Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) represents the largest, most diverse network of Internet companies in the world. This network includes both CMGI operating companies and a growing number of synergistic investments through its venture capital affiliate, @Ventures. CMGI leverages the technologies, content, and market reach of its extended family of companies to foster rapid growth and industry leadership across its network, and the larger Internet Economy. Microsoft, Intel, Sumitomo and Compaq hold minority positions in CMGI.

CMGI’s majority-owned operating companies include Engage Technologies (Nasdaq: ENGA), NaviSite (Nasdaq: NAVI), 1ClickBrands, Activerse, Adsmart, AltaVista, iCAST, Magnitude Network, MyWay.com, NaviNet, SalesLink and ZineZone. The company’s @Ventures affiliates have ownership interests in Lycos, Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS), Critical Path (Nasdaq: CPTH), Silknet (Nasdaq: SILK), Chemdex (Nasdaq: CMDX), Ancestry.com, Asimba.com, AuctionWatch.com, Aureate Media, blaxxun, BizBuyer.com, Boatscape.com, buyingedge.com, CarParts.com, CraftShop.com, eCircles.com, EXP.com, FindLaw, Furniture.com, HotLinks, INPHO/HomePriceCheck.com, Intelligent/Digital, KOZ.com, Mondera.com, MotherNature.com, NextMonet.com, NextPlanetOver.com, OneCore.com, ONElist, PlanetOutdoors.com, Productopia, Raging Bull, Speech Machines, ThingWorld.com, Vicinity, Virtual Ink, Visto, Vstore and WebCT.

[1]: http://www.onecore.com/
[2]: http://www.intelligentdigital.com/
[3]: http://www.thingworld.com/
[4]: http://www.1clickcharge.com/

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VISA Olympics

VISA said yesterday that there is no more powerful a sponsorship marketing platform than the Olympic Games. VISA attributes the 55% increase in brand preference as “the best overall card” to its 14 year Olympic sponsorship. VISA also announced yesterday it will fully integrate its Olympic marketing efforts for the 2000 Sydney Games under the marketing platform, “Dream with No Boundaries.” The integrated marketing program will include national advertising, multilevel promotional programs, a cause-related program, public relations, and support for American National Governing Bodies and America’s Olympic team hopefuls. Under the multilevel promotional program VISA is running a sweepstakes in which cardholders who use their VISA card, between now and May 31, 2000, are automatically entered to win a trip to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. VISA will launch another sweepstakes from July 1, 2000 through September 30, 2000, in which cardholders will have the opportunity to win $5,000 for their dreams and an additional $5,000 donated in their name to the American Olympic team of their choice.

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VISA Student Credit Week

College students nationwide will help fellow students gain an understanding of the responsible use of debit and credit cards as part of a special competition developed by Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and Visa U.S.A. Visa U.S.A.’s Responsible Use of Credit Week, November 14 – 20, encourages SIFE Teams to teach other college students smart money management skills to help them achieve financial security and independence.

Active on more than 700 college campuses in 48 states and 15 countries, SIFE is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with business and higher education to help students take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it in real working situations. The Visa U.S.A. Responsible Use of Credit Week special competition will award $13,500 to SIFE Teams with exceptional projects. “Money touches all of our lives,” said Kelly Presta, Vice President, Visa U.S.A. “As the market leader, Visa feels it’s our responsibility to provide the tools and information that young adults need to mange their money better.”

Approximately two-thirds of college students have at least one credit card, and eighty percent of them obtain a card by their first year of college. Twenty five percent of those who have credit cards obtain a card while still in high school, according to the Institute for Higher Education Policy, Credit Card Survey March/April 1998. That’s why SIFE Teams across the country are planning week-long educational events to reach their college peers and other young adults in their communities. Teams are developing web pages, videos, and pamphlets. Campus workshops, lunch seminars, game shows and poster contests are also in the works.

In Houston, college students at the University of St. Thomas plan to promote wise use of credit during a 24-hour Midnight Monopoly Marathon beginning at noon on November 18. The “Credit Card Monopoly” will use standard rules with one exception — teams will be issued a credit card and must make a minimum payment plus pay finance charges each round. Teams that exceed their credit limit or that cannot make a credit card payment go directly to jail.

“If you go around the board, you can really rack up some charges,” said Georgia Brown, a graduate student at the University of St. Thomas and SIFE project leader. “Credit Card Monopoly gives students a chance to see how long it takes to pay off a balance if you are only paying the minimum due each period. They get hands-on experience, learn credit card terminology and have fun without the risk. What they learn will impact them the rest of their lives.”

Now in its 25th year, SIFE provides college students the opportunity to make a difference and to develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise. For more information visit [http://www.SIFE.org][1].

[1]: http://www.sife.org/

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Credit Store

Sioux Falls, SD-based The Credit Store released fiscal year results on Friday which shows net income of $3.6 million for FY99 versus a $29 million loss for FY98. As of May 31, the end of FY99, the company owned or managed $78.7 million of performing credit card receivables compared to $78.4 million at the end of FY98. The issuer also reported it has 65,925 cards-issued as of 5/31/99 versus 60,852 as of 5/31/98. For FY99 the firm had cumulative non-performing consumer debt of $2.9 billion. The Credit Store acquires portfolios of non-performing consumer credit card receivables and originates new credit cards to those consumers who agree to pay all or a portion of the outstanding amount due on their debt. The new card is issued with an initial balance and credit line equal to the agreed repayment amount.

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Vital Promotions

Vital Processing Services (Vital), the world’s recognized leader in technology-based commerce enabling services, announced today the appointment of a new executive vice president of marketing strategies, Keith Smith, and the promotion of Donna Embry from senior vice president to executive vice president of product marketing.

Strengthening Vital’s capabilities as a marketing-driven company, Keith Smith’s responsibility as executive vice president of marketing strategies is to develop and lead the execution of business strategies for targeted market segments in the merchant services industry.

Vital President and CEO Jon Palmer said, “I am pleased to announce the addition of Keith Smith to the Vital executive team. He brings unique skills and experience, and the ability to develop partnerships that will enhance Vital’s marketing strategies as we move into the new millenium.

Most recently, Smith served as vice president of sales and marketing for Gibbs Management Group, Inc. He also co-founded NexTran, a subsidiary of Gibbs. His success at Gibbs helped produce significant growth in revenue and profitability. Headquartered in Duluth, GA., Gibbs is a full-service provider of point-of-sale equipment and services, and NexTran, Inc. provices check payment service solutions. Prior to his work with Gibbs, Smith held senior marketing and sales positions at Checkmate Electronics, Lanier Worldwide and founded Independent Business Supplies.

“I also am pleased to announce Donna Embry’s promotion to executive vice president. Her wealth of knowledge and expertise will continue to strengthen Vital’s market position.” said Palmer.

A seasoned veteran in the acquiring industry, Donna Embry has played a major role for several years in delivering quality products to Vital’s clients and their merchants. As executive vice president of product marketing, she will continue to focus on building Vital’s competitive advantage in commerce enabling products and services.

Vital Processing Services (Vital) is the world’s recognized leader in technology-based commerce enabling services. Vital’s clients include financial institutions and their agents that provide a wide variety of electronic payment processing services to merchants. Vital’s product offering includes Portfolio Management Services and Merchant Point-of-Sale Products. Headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., Vital does not compete with its clients for their merchant business. Vital services include merchant POS products, electronic authrorization and data capture; VirtualNet Internet-commerce suite of services; clearing, settlement and exception processing; merchant accounting, billing, and reporting; operational fullfillment services (including chargeback and retrieval processing); risk management; and customer service. Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of Visa USA and Total System Services, Inc. Vital can be found on the Internet at [www.vitalps.com][1].

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

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