eCharge Names New CEO

eCharge Corp., the next generation online payments company, Tuesday announced the appointment of Truett Tate as chief executive officer of the company. A career Citibank executive, Tate brings more than 25 years of experience in International banking and financial services to eCharge. Most recently, Tate was the customer group executive responsible for both the Global Corporate and Investment’s Bank’s Marketing Division as well as for the group’s Emerging Market Region Heads worldwide.

Ron Erickson, the former CEO of eCharge, has been appointed chairman of the company’s board of directors. Erickson will actively work with Tate and the Board of Directors in developing key strategic alliances around the world.

The founders of eCharge Corporation, George Fleming and Rob Hutchison, issued the following statement: “We are thrilled with the addition of Truett to our executive team. He will be instrumental in driving our strategy to be the leading global online payments company. His vast experience in managing large scale financial business with major multinational and foreign based corporations, combined with his understanding of the telecommunication and retail industries, makes him uniquely qualified to lead our strike into this market.”

“eCharge has the vision and the talent to revolutionize e-commerce payment systems on a global scale,” said Truett Tate, eCharge’s newly appointed CEO. “George Fleming, Rob Hutchison and Ron Erickson have assembled a talented staff and established a long list of first-tier strategic partners to make this vision real. The combination of the vision, the talent and the partners, has them poised for tremendous success. I am delighted with the prospect of working with such a dynamic and capable team.”

Background on Truett Tate’s Career

As a career Citibank executive, Tate held a variety of senior management positions, almost all being “regional” responsibilities for the Global Corporate Banking businesses. He has been based in North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe. He joined Citibank in 1972 and after three years Tate was selected by Citibank’s CEO to join a team tasked to develop a new strategic vision for the company. In 1978, as vice president, Multi-Nationals Team, Tate participated in the opening of a new office in Cleveland, Ohio to manage large account relationships with locally headquartered multinational companies including TRW, Mead, Eaton and, Proctor and Gamble.

In 1982, after completing Harvard’s Professional Management Development program, Tate led the Corporate Banking business in Sao Paulo, Brazil through both a strong economic period and the mid-80’s economic collapse. Beginning in 1987, Tate transferred to Asia and eventually settled in Hong Kong where he set up new Citibank World Corporation Group operations for Asia Pacific. As the WCG Asia division executive, Tate led operations in 17 countries.

After five years in the Asian market, Tate became the division executive for Citibank’s European World Corporation Group based in London — and subsequently Frankfurt, Germany — and managed its operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa — 48 countries in all. In 1997, Tate was transferred to Citibank’s World Headquarters in New York, where he assumed his current role as customer group executive and Group Relationship Banking marketing director as well as leading the group’s Emerging Market Region Heads. His responsibilities included recruiting, training, advertising, public affairs, the financial analysis units and technology initiatives as well as CIO functions for the front end of the marketing and sales processes.

Tate will work from the eCharge headquarters in Seattle, Washington. He joins Mark Tremont, executive vice president operations and chief financial officer, in managing the day-to-day operations of the company. Tremont, a 30-year banking and finance veteran, joined eCharge in August from Visa International where he managed and directed the company’s worldwide financial operations.

Tate is active in several community activities including the New York Ronald McDonald House. He has served on a variety of industry related boards including a number of overseas Chambers of Commerce, the Far Eastern Economic Review Board (Asia) and is currently chairman of the Global Marketing Council for the Conference Board. He is also a member of the board of directors for a number of companies including Chase Cost Management Corporation.

About eCharge Corporation

Founded in 1997, eCharge Corp., the next generation online payments company, is improving global online payment methods by offering Internet users feature-rich, convenient and secure ways of making online purchases. eCharge Corp.’s payment solutions are used by Internet merchants, telephone companies and Internet Service Providers worldwide. Headquartered in Seattle, Wash., eCharge has offices in Vancouver, British Columbia, London, UK and Tokyo, Japan. For more information go to [http://www.eCharge.com][1].

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

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ETC Plus

Hypercom Corp. and First Data Corp., through its subsidiary First Data Merchant Services Corp. , have developed an enhanced ETC Plus application on First Data’s Omaha platform to support the new processing requirements for all VISA and MasterCard transactions. The proprietary ETC Plus application will allow merchants to qualify for the best interchange rates and better safeguard merchants and consumers against fraudulent transactions.

Designed to reduce the overall cost of processing transactions, First Data’s ETC Plus application includes features such as mail order address verification and retail address verification for manually entered transactions at the point-of-sale. Additionally, ETC Plus supports the new data capture requirements for debit transactions, enabling First Data to report on the debit activity of its clients’ merchants.

“The new ETC Plus application reinforces First Data’s commitment to continuously enhance the processing services and products our clients require to remain successful in the industry,” said Kurt Strawhecker, senior vice president, First Data Merchant Services.

“Hypercom’s goal is to provide industry leaders such as First Data with the most advanced, innovative and value-added electronic payment solutions,” said John Marshall, senior vice president and general manager, Hypercom(R) North America POS. “We have a long and valued relationship with First Data, and we are pleased to support this latest initiative.”

The ETC Plus application on First Data’s Omaha platform supports credit, debit and check transaction processing, including dial authorization and settlement directly with the First Data host system. In addition, the application supports split dial functions for check services and American Express(R) transactions through the First Data ETC Plus host.

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 goods and services. For more information, please visit the company’s web site at [www.firstdatacorp.com][1].

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][2]

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

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Chase Shopping

Chase Manhattan launched an Internet shopping site that features over 30,000 merchants and more than one million products listed by store and product category. The new service, powered by ShopNow.com, offers Chase customers an automatic 5% discount on brand-name products when they use their Chase credit or debit card for ChaseShop.com purchases. The 5% Chase cardholder discount applies only to purchases made through the Products or Brands section of ChaseShop.com. Purchases made through the Stores section do not qualify for the discount. Chase cardholders can also take advantage of exclusive money-saving discounts offered on the ‘Chase Extras’ section of the site.

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CompUSA Magic Moments

CompUSA Inc., America’s Largest Computer Superstore retailer, is proud to announce its participation, for the second year, in Visa’s Magic Moments promotion. Each day from November 1 through December 31, 1999, Visa will randomly select a one-second moment when U.S.-issued Visa card purchases are free — regardless of the amount.

Last year 17 CompUSA customers won amounts ranging from $9 to over $1600. If the processing time stamp of a customer’s Visa purchase matches that day’s Visa Magic Moment, a credit will appear on the cardholder’s next statement. No purchase or obligation is necessary. For more details, including consumer sweepstakes official rules, visit [http://www.visa.com][1].

“Because this promotion extends through the holiday season, our customers could really win big when they use their Visa card at CompUSA,” said CompUSA president and CEO Jim Halpin. “The more purchases they make, the higher their chances of winning.”

About Visa

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 the 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 [http://www.visa.com][2].

About CompUSA Inc.

CompUSA Inc. ([http://www.compusa.com][3]) is one of the nation’s leading retailers and resellers of personal computers and related products and services. CompUSA Inc. currently operates 213 CompUSA Computer Superstores in 83 major metropolitan markets across the United States that serve retail, corporate, government and education customers and include technical service departments and classroom training facilities. CompUSA also offers its own build-to-order personal computer series, the CompUSA PC(TM).

[1]: http://www.visa.com/
[2]: http://www.visa.com/
[3]: http://www.compusa.com/

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Pathways Acquisition

WA-based The Pathways Group confirmed late yesterday that it has agreed to acquire CO-based SmartCard Solutions. Privately held SmartCard Solutions is a technology based company with expertise in enterprise systems design and development, telecommunications, financial systems and application development for ticket sales, access control and rental/retail for destination resorts and campus-style environments. SmartCard Solutions currently has its POS system installed in several prominent rocky mountain ski areas, including the four mountains of Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado where the system processes approximately 3.5 million transactions per season. The Pathways Group is a developer of smart card-based technologies and manufactures ‘SPRINTICKET’ unattended ticketing dispensers. The deal is expected to close by Dec. 31.

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Sears’ Card Head

Sears, Roebuck and Co. named Kevin Keleghan president of Credit Services yesterday. Keleghan will assume responsibility for the strategic direction and leadership of Sears Credit Services, including Sears Card, Sears Premier Card, Sears Charge Plus, Sears Commercial One, Sears Home Improvement Card and Sears Gift Card. Keleghan, formerly of GE Capital, joined Sears as vice president of credit risk management in 1996.

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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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