PC Banking Surge

Dataquest projected yesterday that the number of U.S. households using PC banking applications will more than triple in the next five years, from 7 million at the end of 1998 to more than 24.2 million by 2004. Approximately 57% of these, about 13.7 million households, will be paying bills online in 2004. The research firm says online banking households are not typical of the potential mass market; they differ not only in terms of household composition and income level, but in terms of bill payment habits as well. The research shows that current consumers who bank online are largely those whose time is at a premium . . . well educated households with high, dual incomes and children. Dataquest estimates the average fee for online bill payment services is $6.20 a month, but it is noted that only about half of all online bill paying customers actually pay. Some banks offer the service free, and others waive the fee for preferred customers. The average fee for account viewing stands at about $5.10 a month. The number of banks with a formal fee schedule is declining. Only about 20 percent of banks have a fee schedule, and only about 10% of account viewing households actually pay. Fees from all account view and bill payment services are forecast to reach $1.3 billion by 2003.


AmEx Delta Sweepstakes

Delta Air Lines and American Express unveiled an opportunity to join Tiger Woods in Spain at the World Golf Championships in November.

American Express Card holders who purchase BusinessElite tickets on [http://www.delta-air.com][1] today through September 30, 1999 and you will automatically be entered in the American Express Championship Sweepstakes.

The World Golf Championships are November 4-8, 1999, at Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande, Andalucia, Spain.

Each of the two lucky winners will receive a prize package including:

* Air travel provided by Delta Air Lines

* Accommodations at a four star hotel

* Tickets to the American Express Championship

* Access to the Tiger Woods Clinic

* Golf at the celebrated Valdarrama Golf Club (Championship course)

* World Golf Championships merchandise

Delta, named Airline of the Year by Air Transport World magazine and “Best-Managed Major Airline” for 1999 by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, is the world’s most flown carrier. More than 105 million passengers traveled on Delta in 1998. Delta, Delta Express, the Delta Shuttle, the Delta Connection carriers and Delta’s Worldwide Partners operate 5,281 flights each day to 351 cities in 59 countries.

1. HOW TO ENTER: NO PURCHASE, TRANSACTION OR CONTINUATION OF CARDMEMBER STATUS NECESSARY TO ENTER. There are three ways to enter: (1) Visit the Delta Air Lines Web site at [http://www.delta-air.com][2] and you will receive one automatic entry each time you make a purchase transaction on your eligible American Express Card for a roundtrip Delta BusinessElite ticket or receive two automatic entries each time you make a purchase transaction on your eligible American Express Card for a roundtrip Atlanta to Madrid Delta BusinessElite ticket. (2) You will receive one automatic entry each time you make a purchase transaction on your eligible American Express Card for a roundtrip Delta BusinessElite ticket or receive two automatic entries each time you make a purchase transaction on your eligible American Express Card for a roundtrip Atlanta to Madrid Delta BusinessElite ticket and mail a photocopy (retain original for your records) of your receipt with your name, address and telephone number to: American Express Championship Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 2097, Maryland Heights, MO 63043.(3) To enter without making a purchase handwrite your name, address and phone number and the words “(American Express Championship Sweepstakes)” on a 3″ x 5″ card and mail it in a hand- addressed outer envelope to: American Express Championship Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 2097, Maryland Heights, MO 63043. Limit two 3″ x 5″ card entries per hand-addressed outer envelope. Sweepstakes runs and transactions must be captured from 12AM ET on 8/2/99 through 11:59PM ET on 9/30/99. All mail-in entries must be postmarked by 9/30/99 and received by 9/30/99.

2. PRIZE: Grand Prize (2): Trip for two to the PGA World Golf Championships in Sotogrande, Spain from November 5th to 9th. Trip includes roundtrip Delta BusinessElite air transportation from major gateway airport nearest winner’s residence, 4-consecutive-nights standard hotel accommodations (based on double occupancy), tickets to the World Golf Championships (weekly grounds passes), access to the Tiger Woods Clinic, 18 holes of golf at Valderrama on the Monday following the golf championships and a World Golf Championship merchandise package. Ground transportation, meals, gratuities and any other expenses not expressly set forth above are not included. Approximate retail value: $4,000. Prize is not transferable and no substitution or cash equivalent is permitted. All applicable federal, state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the winners. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

(“American Express”), the PGA and Delta Air Lines (“Delta”) reserve the right to substitute prize of comparable value. American Express, its parent companies, subsidiaries and affiliates, PGA and Delta are not responsible or liable for any events that occur during, or as a result of winner’s acceptance and use of the prize. Winners must travel on specified dates or forfeit prize.

3. SELECTION OF WINNERS: Prize winners will be selected in a random drawing from all eligible entries received. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Sweepstakes drawing will be conducted by Diamond Group, Inc., an independent judging organization on or about 10/1/99. Winners will be notified by mail.

4. ELIGIBILITY: Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the U.S. except in Florida, who are at least 18 years of age. Employees of American Express and its parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, advertising agencies, PGA, Delta and their families are not eligible to participate. Only one winner per household or organization. Sweepstakes is void in Florida and where prohibited or restricted by law. All federal, state and local laws apply. Entries that contain errors, are incomplete, mechanically reproduced or illegible will not be accepted. American Express, PGA and Delta are not responsible for lost, late, misdirected or damaged mail or entries. Diamond Group will be the sole judge of which entries qualify and are valid, and their decisions are final.

5. MISCELLANEOUS: Entering American Express Championship Sweepstakes constitutes permission to use the name and likeness of prize winners for advertising and publicity purposes (where legal) without further compensation. Winners will be required to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Publicity/Liability Release before the prize is awarded. Traveling companions must sign a liability release prior to ticketing. For the name of the prize winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: American Express Championship Sweepstakes Winners List, P.O. Box 2097, Maryland Heights, MO 63043. Requests must be received (not postmarked) no later than 9/30/99. American Express reserves the right in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this sweepstakes should virus, bugs or other causes beyond the control of sponsor, corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the sweepstakes.

[1]: http://www.delta-air.com/
[2]: http://www.delta-air.com/


Unexpired Miles

In a boon to consumers this summer, all major U.S. air carriers have dropped the mileage expiration requirement from their frequent flyer programs. Yesterday United Airlines announced the change, following a similar announcement by American Airlines last week. The nation’s two largest passenger airlines were the lone holdouts among all U.S. carriers. The recent changes should drive up consumer interest in the bank credit card versions of United and American’s frequent flyer programs. Under the former program rules, consumers with annual charge volumes under $10,000 could not cost-justify the higher annual fees associated with United and American’s co-branded bank credit card program. However United Airlines said Tuesday that ‘Mileage Plus’ members’ frequent flyer miles will no longer expire, provided the members earn or redeem miles at least once every 36 months. American Airlines also instituted the same requirement last week for members of its ‘AAdvantage’ program. A qualifying activity, to keep miles active includes: taking a paid flight on the carrier or its affiliates; or making a purchase with the carrier’s co-branded VISA or MasterCard; or staying at a partner hotel; or renting from a rental partner; or accepting a special mileage offer from the carrier. United also announced Tuesday it will reinstate 1998 expired miles to members who register and take either two paid domestic roundtrips or one paid international roundtrip on flights operated by United, United Shuttle or United Express. Full details on the changes are available from CardTrak Online ([www.cardtrak.com][1]). United Airlines has 37 million frequent flyer members while American Airlines has 35 million. There are also more than two million cardholders in the Bank One/United Airlines bank credit card program and about about the same number in the Citibank/American Airlines bank credit card program, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][2]).

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


Java Card Applets for SIM Cards

Gemplus announced its cooperation with Symantec, the world’s leading Java software vendor, in the development of the latest version of GemXplore CASE, an industry-leading wireless telecommunications software development environment.

Gemplus, the world’s leading provider of smart card solutions, will launch GemXplore CASE 2.0 and its exclusive Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) development plug-ins Object Designer and Advanced Development Tools. By leveraging Symantec’s VisualCafe 3.0 Professional Edition in its Object Designer plug-in, Gemplus offers millions of Java developers worldwide the ability to design and develop Java Card applets for SIM cards in a familiar and complete environment.

Tremendous Opportunity for Telecom Operators and Developers

Symantec’s VisualCafe is used by 50% of Java developer’s, totaling more than 900,000 registered users. Until now, developers could design powerful Java applets and applications for use in several different industries, in particular IT. “Now, developers can design Java Card applets using a similar syntax and a familiar tool that can be downloaded onto SIM cards and used to create value added services for the GSM market, an industry which will represent a total of 250 million users by the end of 1999,” said Philippe Martineau, director of wireless communications marketing product group, Gemplus.

“After viewing GemXplore CASE 2.0 at the Gemplus Developers Conference in June, we were very impressed by the convenience of using VisualCafe 3.0 with GemXplore CASE — and it makes SIM Toolkit applet development for Java Card SIMs so easy, ” said Federico Benincasa, Internet tools business development manager, Symantec France. “We are pleased that Gemplus has integrated our software and expect our customers will be able to successfully address the booming GSM market with this comprehensive tool. We are confident that this tool will contribute to the widespread use of Java Card in the GSM industry.”

GemXplore CASE is a SIM card development tool designed for value added service application developments onto GemXplore 98 SIM cards or GemXplore Xpresso SIM cards. With over 60% market share of the SIM-based service development kits, GemXplore CASE is the world’s leading SIM development environment.

The enhancements of GemXplore CASE 2.0 include improved software modules to ease SIM Toolkit applet and Over-The-Air service development and two new plug-ins including Advanced Development Tools and Object Designer. The Advanced Development Tools plug-in offers sophisticated simulation and debugging tools and a network and a handset simulator for SIM Toolkit and Over-The-Air application testing, thus increasing the productivity of SIM card developers. Object Designer is the first Java Card SIM Toolkit applet development tool that fully integrates Symantec’s VisualCafe and is also compatible with other Java development software.

With GemXplore CASE Object Designer and the integration of Symantec’s VisualCafe, Gemplus offers GSM operators and developers the right tools to develop Java Card applets and also provides the powerful GemXplore ‘Xpresso, the Java Card 2.1 SIM card, to run them on. It supports the ETSI GSM API 1.0 and offers a 32K byte component which ensures the full capabilities of the Java Card.

GemXplore CASE 2.0 has incorporated feedback from hundreds of developers worldwide and offers exclusive tools to make value added service applet development and testing easy and efficient. GemXplore CASE 2.0 uses the same modular architecture as its predecessor and now offers an enhanced development environment which leverages the latest GSM technology.


GemXplore CASE 2.0 and GemXplore ‘Xpresso SIM cards are currently available.

Symantec’s Internet Tools Division

The Symantec Internet Tools Division pioneered the Java development tools market by delivering the first integrated development environment (IDE) for Java in March 1996 and has been the No. 1 selling Java application environment for three years running. Symantec continues a tradition of innovation that distinguishes VisualCafe as the market share leader in Java(TM) development technology. Symantec’s suite of Java development tools includes VisualCafe Enterprise Suite with distributed debugging and Single-View technology, VisualCafe Database Edition, VisualCafe Professional Edition, VisualCafe Standard Edition and Visual Page. Symantec announced June 10 that it will establish the Internet Tools Division as an independent company focusing on providing solutions for e-commerce and technology for Web-enabling business systems and legacy applications. See entire press release at [www.visualcafe.com][1].

About Symantec

Symantec is the world leader in utility software for business and personal computing. Symantec products and solutions help make users productive and keep their computers safe and reliable anywhere and anytime. Symantec offers a broad range of solutions and is acclaimed as a leader in both customer satisfaction and product brand recognition. Symantec is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol SYMC. More information on the company and its products can be obtained at [www.symantec.com][2].

About Gemplus

Gemplus S.C.A. ([www.gemplus.com][3]) is the world’s leading provider of plastic and smart card-based solutions (by units sold, source: Dataquest 1998). Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.

With sales of over $US648 million in 1998, Gemplus employs more than 4,300 people in 10 manufacturing facilities, 5 R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in 27 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, physical access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, logical access control and information technology.

[1]: http://www.visualcafe.com/
[2]: http://www.symantec.com/
[3]: http://www.gemplus.com/


Passport Goes Natl

Rockport Healthcare Group, Inc., an integrated healthcare service company, announced Tuesday that its wholly owned subsidiary Rockport Preferred, Inc. will market its Passport Medical Savings Card to Independent Cab Drivers and other associations.

RPHL subsidiary Rockport Preferred, Inc. announced an agreement with a Taxi Cab Company to sell its Passport Medical Savings card to its 1,000 independent taxi drivers. The Taxi Cab Company will be offering the Card through a payroll deduction plan. It is anticipated 70% of the cab drivers will purchase the Passport Plus Card at $180.00 per card. This will generate $126,000 in revenue to Rockport Healthcare Group, Inc.

Rockport Preferred, Inc. has secured an agreement with a marketing group in Michigan. This group is marketing to 17,000 residents of a community in Michigan. The marketing group anticipates a twenty percent (20%) minimum sales penetration within the community therefore generating $510,000 in revenue to RPHL. The marketing group will insert Rockport’s Passport Card Brochure in the local newspaper for distribution.

In addition, Rockport Preferred, Inc. is negotiating with two national employee-leasing companies regarding offering their Passport Medical Savings Card to their employees to complement the basic benefits being offered. These two companies have over 50,000 employees.

Harry Neer, Rockport CEO added: “We are very excited to begin the mass marketing of our discounted medical services card to individuals and large organizations. This card will provide many benefits, typically unavailable to the insured and non-insured.” Neer added: “We expect to sell over 35,000 cards in the remaining months of 1999, this will generate significant revenues for Rockport Healthcare Group.”

Rockport Passport Plus Medical Savings Card provides access to over 300,000 physicians with savings up to 35% for physician fees, dental care with a minimum savings of 15% on all services including orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry, vision care provides minimum savings of 30%, chiropractic care savings of 50% and Hearing services, and devices of up to 45% savings and prescription services with over 40,000 retail pharmacies and guarantees the lowest price on any Rx needs.

The Passport Plus Card is sold for an annual fee of $180.00. The Rockport Passport Card without physicians’ services is sold for an annual fee of $120.00.

The Rockport Healthcare Group, Inc. family of companies includes Rockport Community Network, Inc., a managed care organization; Rockport Occupational Network, Inc., an Exclusive Provider Worker’s Compensation Network; Rockport Preferred, Inc., Medical Access Savings Card Programs; Newton Healthcare Network, LLC, a Preferred Provider Organization; and Rockport Group of Texas, Inc., a Healthcare Administrative Services Company.


1,000 U-Scans

Montreal-based Optimal Robotics Corp. announced it has installed its 250th ‘U-Scan Express’ system representing 1,000 ‘U-Scan’ terminals. At the end of 1998, the firm had installed 87 systems. ‘U-Scan Express’ systems are located in 20 states from Georgia to Colorado and are soon to expand further westward. Retail clients include Kroger, Meijer, Wal-Mart, and A&P.


Juno Hires AmEx Exec

Juno Online Services, Inc. , a provider of Internet-related services to millions of computer users throughout the United States, Tuesday announced the appointment of Ronni Zlotnick as Director of Loyalty Marketing. Ms. Zlotnick comes to Juno from the American Express Company, where she served most recently as Senior Director, Marketing Service Strategy, Consumer Marketing. Prior to that, she worked at Citibank.

Ms. Zlotnick will be responsible for developing and implementing loyalty marketing strategies designed to drive use of Juno’s services and to reward Juno subscribers for their loyalty. In an April 1999 ranking published by independent measurement firm Media Metrix, Juno was listed among the top ten digital media properties in terms of user loyalty, ahead of other major Internet services including Prodigy, Netscape, and the Microsoft Network.

“We’re very pleased to have Ronni join us. Juno’s services have been crafted with special attention to the needs of mainstream consumers, and Ronni’s strong customer-oriented background make her a good fit for us in our efforts to provide our users with a rewarding online experience,” said Jonathan Cherins, Juno’s vice president of marketing.

About Juno Online Services, Inc.

Juno Online Services, Inc. is a provider of Internet-related services to millions of computer users throughout the United States. The company offers several levels of service, ranging from basic dial-up Internet e-mail–which is provided to the end user for free–to full, competitively priced access to the World Wide Web. Since the launch of Juno’s basic e-mail service in April 1996, more than 7 million total Juno accounts have been created. Juno’s revenues are derived primarily from the subscription fees charged for certain billable services, from the sale of advertising, and from the direct sale of products to Juno subscribers.

Juno can be downloaded from the company’s Web site at [http://www.juno.com][1]. To obtain a copy of the software on CD-ROM, call 1-800-TRY-JUNO.

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


Boston Comm Upgrades Phone Card

Boston Communications Group, Inc. announced this week the implementation of an upgraded software platform, the Arlington release, to enhance its wireless prepaid services offering. The Arlington software release includes upgrades to each component of the BCGI prepaid platform to provide customers with a variety of new features.

New functionality includes real prepaid roaming at rates pre-negotiated between the home and serving carrier. The benefit for the carrier is more calls can be processed while the benefit to the subscriber is reduced roaming rates. With the Arlington release, roaming becomes a conventional offering for prepaid wireless as it is for postpaid cellular.

Individual Special Numbers (ISNs) allow carriers to assign a special rate to specified phone numbers for each subscriber. ISNs can be rated at no charge to the subscriber, rated with airtime charges only, or rated with both airtime and long distance charges. Carriers can assign a certain number of ISNs to a prepaid card, a certain number of calls per month to the prepaid card, or both. Subscribers enjoy the benefit of reduced rates to the number(s) they call most often.

For example, coupled with automatic periodic replenishment, released from BCGI last fall, is the perfect plan for a college student calling home using a prepaid wireless phone to do so for a reduced rate with the comfort of knowing that monthly his prepaid account will be automatically replenished up to a budgeted amount.

Other features of the release include: web-based reporting for carriers through the newly developed eStat application as well as credit card replenishment via the automated customer care menu and multiple language capabilities providing messaging in up to 99 different languages. BCGI’s customer care application (CCST) now includes a new distributed architecture which decreases response times for call representatives and allows carriers to house customer care at their own facility.

Kevin Thigpen, Vice President and General Manager of BCGI’s Prepaid Division, stated, “With the fast growth of prepaid and the competitive nature of the wireless industry, service differentiation is key to success at capturing and maintaining market share. The Arlington release provides wireless carriers with an improved version of our industry leading prepaid platform, giving customers a new generation of features and a Y2K compliant prepaid service.”

BCGI’s new naming convention for their software releases comes from the streets in Boston’s Back Bay. The Berkeley release is scheduled for later this year, with Clarendon set to be released in the second quarter of 2000.

Boston Communications Group (BCGI), is the leading provider of prepaid services to wireless carriers in North and South America. Founded in 1988, BCGI provides wireless carriers with a range of resources and support services targeted to address the unique needs of this growing industry. BCGI provides one or more of its services to nine of the top ten wireless carriers in the United States, who generate over 75 percent of industry revenues, plus more than 80 additional carriers. Each service plays an integral role in the Company’s mission: to help wireless carriers focus resources on their areas of expertise while improving quality, enhancing revenue and controlling costs. Please visit BCGI’s web site at [http://www.bcgi.net][1].

[1]: http://www.bcgi.net/


Mid-Year PULSE

Houston-based PULSE EFT Assn reported yesterday that it signed 107 new members during the first half of the year, including a record number of 29 in May alone. At the same time, PULSE recorded two new all-time highs in volume during the first six months, a total of 33,862,570 ATM and POS transactions in March and 36,133,451 transactions in May. Volume grew 36% during the first six months of this year, with a total of 82,800,195 transactions compared to 60,966,282 transactions for the same period last year. POS now constitutes 42 percent of all network transactions.


Bankruptcy Decline

Consumer bankruptcies should decline by 8-12% this year and be flat to down four percent in the year 2000 as a result of the strong job market and slower than anticipated credit growth. The prediction comes from a new report released this week by U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. The firm had previously been anticipating a decrease in consumer bankruptcies for 1999 of 5-10%, and had also projected a 5-10% increase in 2000. Piper Jaffray said Tuesday that a relatively small decrease in consumer bankruptcy rates can have a significant impact on the profitability of consumer finance companies. The report estimates that a 5-10% reduction in credit losses would add from three to 37% more earnings power to selected lenders in 2000. However, not every lender will benefit equally, the report cautions, pointing out that such factors as poor underwriting and product pricing, the timing of a purchase or sale of a loan portfolio, and overall leverage and operating efficiency also play a key role in determining profitability. As a result of the findings Piper Jaffray raised its earnings estimates for American Express, Metris, MBNA, Providian, Associates and Capital One.


Euronet 2Q/99

Euronet Services Inc. reported this week that its ATM network and related services contributed $5.9 million (or 55%) of revenues, while ARKSYS software and related services accounted for $4.8 million (or 45%) of total revenues for the second quarter. The firm has a year-to-date net loss of $16.5 million. As of July 31, Euronet was operating 1,434 ATMs as part of its proprietary network, including 364 in Hungary, 492 in Poland, 381 in Germany, 74 in Croatia, 53 in the Czech Republic, 49 in the U.K., and 21 in France. In addition, Euronet operates 197 bank-owned ATMs under outsourcing agreements, including 175 in Hungary, 20 in Poland, and 2 in France. Increases in the proprietary network in the U.K. and Poland were offset by ATM de-installations in Germany made in connection with the reorganization of the recently acquired Service Bank network. For more 2Q/99 details on Euronet visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


VISA Fan Search Underway

As part of Visa U.S.A.’s “It’s Everywhere NFL Fans Want to Be” integrated marketing campaign, it has teamed with the Pro Football Hall of Fame once again to search for 31 outstanding NFL fans — out of an estimated 170 million — to honor in the Visa Hall of Fans exhibit.

First unveiled in January 1999, the Visa Hall of Fans is the first and only exhibit in professional sports that recognizes and celebrates specific fans for their tremendous impact on the sport they love — professional football.

Beginning today, Visa U.S.A. launches a national search for the most loyal, knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan from each of the NFL’s 31 teams. Each winning fan will be featured in the Visa Hall of Fans exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and receive a two-day, two-night trip to Canton, Ohio, for a special Visa Hall of Fans ceremony in January 2000. Last year’s inaugural honorees included such icons as “Boss Hogette” (Washington Redskins), “The Packalope” (Green Bay Packers), “Barrelman” (Denver Broncos) and “Big Dawg” (Cleveland Browns).

“Over our past four seasons as an NFL sponsor, Visa has learned that the real marketing power of pro football is not just what’s on the field, but who’s in the stands and at home watching television,” said Becky Saeger, executive vice president, Brand Marketing, Visa U.S.A. “The Visa Hall of Fans is a key element of our 1999-2000 fully integrated NFL marketing program that is focused on bringing fans closer to the game and closer to the Visa brand.”

NFL fans are asked to enter by sending a photograph and one-page essay explaining “Why I Should Represent My Team’s Fans at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.” Entries must be mailed to: “Visa Hall of Fans Search,” P.O. Box 8039, Grand Rapids, MN 55745-8039. Prior to entering, fans should log on to [www.visa.com/nfl][1] or call 1-888-VISA-550 for complete rules, entry information and judging criteria. Entries must be postmarked by October 30, 1999 and received by November 5, 1999.

The winning fans will be selected by a panel of representatives from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the NFL and Visa. Judging will be based on knowledge of the sport/team, enthusiasm, team loyalty and creativity.

“The Visa Hall of Fans exhibit has been a tremendous success since it honors the unsung heroes of the game,” said John Bankert, executive director, Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Fans, families, visitors and even enshrinees have shown great interest in the exhibit, and we anticipate continued success this year.”

The Visa Hall of Fans exhibit captures fan spirit and emotion through a display that includes a picture and profile for each winning fan. The exhibit also displays famous fan memorabilia and features an electrifying video showing avid fans on-site at NFL stadiums nationwide. Finally, a plaque listing last year’s honorees will also be featured.

“What’s a sport without the fans?” said Mike Torbert, the “Boss Hogette” of the Washington Redskins and a 1998-99 Visa Hall of Fans honoree. “The players obviously are a huge part of the game. But the fans are out there through thick and thin, rain, snow, sleet — routing for their team. My hats off to the NFL and Visa for sponsoring (the Visa Hall of Fans).”

Visa U.S.A., in its fifth year as the “Preferred Card of the National Football League,” has fully integrated its NFL marketing efforts for the 1999-2000 season under the theme, “Visa. It’s Everywhere NFL Fans Want to Be.” In addition to the Visa Hall of Fans search, the integrated marketing program will include national advertising and consumer promotions, direct mail, public relations, retail and online marketing, and league support. Visa’s campaign is designed to drive profitability for Visa Members and merchants, increase fan preference for Visa and enhance NFL fans’ experience.

As the World’s Best Way to Pay, Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide 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 over 8 million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(tm)programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are more than 800 million Visa, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cards, which generate nearly US$1.4 trillion in annual volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at more than 16 million worldwide locations, including at over 500,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com][2].

[1]: http://www.visa.com/nfl
[2]: http://www.visa.com/