Bank One/FUSA Re-States

Bank One/First USA restated its first and second quarter figures yesterday to CardData ( The adjusted figures for the first quarter shows that receivables were $68.0 billion instead of the previously reported $68.2 billion. Charge volume for the first quarter was also revised downward from $26.8 billion to $26.7 billion. Bank One/First USA’s second quarter numbers show a net gain of more than 700,000 cards during the second quarter. For the more current quarterly figures on more than 300 major U.S. issuers visit CardData ([][1]).


1Q/99 2Q/99
Receivables: $68,009,000,000 $68,981,000,000
YTD Volume: $26,711,100,000 $28,712,300,000
Cards: 58.075,000 58,785,900

Source: CardData (



SmartDisk Hires Kraul

SmartDisk Corporation, a company focused on providing simple, innovative solutions that advance and enhance the use of miniature storage media and smart cards, Tuesday announced the appointment of Douglas Kraul as vice president of Audio/Video Products. Mr. Kraul’s responsibilities will include managing SmartDisk’s Atlanta area-based product engineering and development team.

“Doug brings to SmartDisk a wealth of experience in the electronics and computer industries,” said Michael S. Battaglia, President and CEO, SmartDisk Corporation. “He has been a leader of hardware and software operations, a researcher and engineer, and, most interestingly, a musician who owns a production studio and label. We look forward to the many contributions that he will make.”

Prior to joining SmartDisk, Mr. Kraul was co-founder, president and chairman of Harmony Systems, Inc., a company that creates Internet desktop client software and applications for information management and electronic musical products.

Previously, from 1979 to 1981 and again from 1993 to 1997, Mr. Kraul was with Motorola, holding a succession of managerial positions involving the research, design and strategic marketing of personal wireless communications and data products and services. His most recent position at Motorola was as vice president and general manager of the Platform Software Division, a division he also helped to establish.

His other experience includes high-level posts with Hewlett Packard, Apple Computer, PrintaColor Corporation and Data General. A prolific writer, he has published articles in Electronic Design, Foreign Language Annals, Audio-Visual Instruction, Byte Magazine, Electronotes, and Electronic Musician, and co-authored The Musical PC Book. He also holds eight U.S. patents and numerous foreign patents. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned his BEE degree.

About SmartDisk Corporation

SmartDisk Corporation designs, develops and markets products that simplify the digital lifestyle. Its patented product solutions enable the easy transfer of images, music, voice and data among personal computers, the Internet and various types of digital appliances that use flash memory cards and/or smart cards. SmartDisk’s objective is to utilize its proprietary technology to capitalize on the growing demand for digital appliances and increased usage of the Internet. The market for SmartDisk’s solutions includes users of the ubiquitous and resilient 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, found worldwide on most personal computers. SmartDisk’s investors include Toshiba Corporation, Fischer, Hitachi, NEC and others. For more information, go to [][1].



FreeMac VISA

A startup called will be the first company in the world to give away one million Apple ‘iMac’ computers. Scheduled to launch in September, will give away the sexy Apple ‘iMac’ to consumers who qualify for the FreeMac-branded/First USA credit card and who agree to pay the standard $19.95 per month Internet service provider fee for three years. Initial partners for the new enterprise include: ISP EarthLink Network, First USA, CyberCash and artist Peter Max. The company’s mission is to build the FreeMac community, a select group of over one million households who will be able to take advantage of discounted product and service offerings, as well as other highly targeted marketing opportunities. Members of the community will be able to create their own customized EarthLink start pages, build free web sites, engage in e-commerce and take advantage of the full multimedia capabilities of their ‘iMacs’. Two gigabytes of each ‘iMac’s’ hard drive will be reserved for exclusive multimedia content from’s entertainment partners. Each free ‘iMac’ will also be configured with a CyberCash ‘InstaBuy’ wallet, enabling instant one-click shopping at a number of online merchants.



First USA confirmed Tuesday it has completed a co-brand credit card agreement with BellSouth to become the issuer of the BellSouth credit card. The agreement includes the purchase of the BellSouth credit card portfolio from GE Capital. This portfolio consists of $340 million in credit card outstandings representing approximately 450,000 BellSouth credit card accounts. Terms were not disclosed.


ATM PhoneCard Payoff

Banks will now be able to conduct market research and create advertising opportunities by means of prepaid phonecards delivered through ATMs. Bellevue, WA-based FCG, Inc. announced Tuesday the development of the ATM prepaid ‘TeleSurvey’ phonecard. FCG’s ‘TeleSurvey’ is added to the bank’s phonecard program, but as an optional choice for the consumer. A purchaser who chooses to answer the questions in the ‘TeleSurvey’ is immediately rewarded with additional minutes on the calling card. This option allows a bank to conduct valuable market research while offering a branded product at the same time. Free long-distance minutes have a high perceived value for consumers. In addition to ‘TeleSurvey’, FCG offers a range of information services, which are added to a phonecard as needed. The card is used to directly access a bank’s network or customer service center, providing information to the consumer regarding loan processing, merchant services or even demand deposit accounts. The company says this type of interactive phonecard has a phenomenal response rate of 50-75%.


Plastic Demand

A new 13-country study by PSI Global found that significant numbers of Europeans want additional payment cards that can be used for more types of transactions in more places. PSI found that nearly half of the 300 million consumers in Europe indicated that the financial benefits associated with a payment card is more important than the issuer. European consumers also want revolving credit, especially in markets where this feature has not been offered. Other key findings include: Take-one applications from local financial institutions were used by 35% of consumers who had opened a card account; 45% of Europeans who were offered a balance transfer in connection with a new credit card account accepted; Europeans rated rebate of an annual fee, free replacement of stolen/damaged goods, rebates on purchases made with card and rewards programs such as free travel as among the most attractive card benefits; and the potential to issue new cards is particularly strong in Germany, Italy, Spain and the emerging markets of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Turkey. The PSI study was based on 10,500 consumer interviews conducted by telephone or in person.



College students nationwide will be able to stay in touch this school year for as little as 10 cents a minute thanks to a new Sprint FONCARD. Sprint announced Tuesday that its calling card for college students now carries a rate of 10 cents a minute for weekday calls from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and all weekend long. Weekday calls are 40 cents a minute.

“College students looking for a convenient calling card will find good value with the Sprint FONCARD,” said Amy Mosier, director of College Marketing for Sprint. “College students can take their long-distance with them wherever they go — and there are no per-call surcharges and no monthly fees.

“The FONCARD is the perfect way for students to stay in touch with family and friends during the school year or even all year long,” added Mosier. “There is no need to switch your long-distance service or even own a phone. The phone card goes with students whether they change dorm rooms or move off campus — and calls can be placed from virtually any phone, anytime, anywhere.”

Best of all, said Mosier, students who average $25 or more in long- distance each month can participate in Sprint’s Cool Rewards program, which allows them to redeem reward stamps for free long-distance and Sony Musica merchandise like music CDs, videos and much more. Four times a year, students automatically receive reward stamps to redeem for prizes. The Cool Rewards catalog is available on-line () or in print.

The Sprint FONCARD also can be used for emergencies or when students are short of change for a pay phone. There is a 26-cent charge for calls originating from a pay phone. The FONCARD also provides a convenient way to keep track of long-distance calls because there is no need to split the phone bill with roommates.

FONCARD usage can be billed to a credit card. To use the card, students call 1-800-2SPRINT and follow the voice prompts. There is also a collect calling option.

Marketing materials for the new calling card are being circulated in college bookstores and other campus locations. Those offers include trial incentives of up to 60 minutes of free long-distance. The FONCARD also can be ordered through the Sprint Web site — — and later this month through [][1], a popular Web site among college students.

Sprint is a global communications company at the forefront in integrating long-distance, local and wireless communications services, and one of the world’s largest carriers of Internet traffic. Sprint built and operates the United States’ first nationwide all-digital, fiber optic network and is a leader in advanced data communications services. Sprint has $17 billion in annual revenues and serves more than 17 million business and residential customers.



100,000 bCards, a subsidiary of, Inc. , and a leader in smart card technology and services, Tuesday announced that it has reached a significant milestone by delivering its 100,000th bCard smart card in just four months. In reaching this milestone, establishes itself as one of America’s leaders in the emerging smart card industry — estimated by market research firm Frost & Sullivan to be a $5 billion worldwide market by 2003. bCards are universal electronic business cards, based on proprietary “smart cards” used to store, transfer and otherwise manage information about business professionals. Unlike paper business cards, bCards can store large amounts of digital information that can be easily shared and stored to facilitate communication between business professionals and commerce between business entities.

Trade shows, conferences and corporate events are prime business environments where potential smart card communications and transactions are occurring continuously. In early 1999, signed a contract with American Show Management of Portland, Ore., North America’s largest producer of information technology exhibitions, to provide registration and exhibitor services to 45 of its U.S. events in 1999. Under the agreement, is expected to issue and manage more than 250,000 total bCards per year in a three-year pact valued at approximately $3-4 million.

“Unlike Europe, the United States has been slow to adopt smart card technology,” said Ivan Lazarev, president of “We have been fortunate enough to discover and exploit a niche that not only needs what bCards have to offer, but which is prepared to take advantage of the entire suite of offerings.”

The Vision issues bCards to qualified individuals and maintains a global database of bCard holder information. By controlling the information gathered through the issuance of bCards, is poised for leadership as an Internet “infomediary” in the emerging Internet and smart card industry. An Internet infomediary is described in a new book from the Harvard Business School Press as “information brokers that help customers maximize the value of their personal data to get the lowest price, widest selection and best service possible while ensuring the customer’s privacy.”

As a trusted information broker, provides an important link between businesses and their customers by providing secure and private means of communicating valuable information. With a bCard, individuals can control the use of their personal information and command a price or bounty for its use by commercial entities. In the case of bCard users the affinity rewards are currently bCard Points redeemable for frequent flyer miles. is also actively developing an Internet portal for the dissemination of information and for conducting e-commerce activities related to the bCard affinity program. founders believe the company’s global universal electronic business card technology will create a new Internet based communications environment for business-to-business transactions and become a leading global business-to-business communications portal.

“The introduction of bCard Points as a web-based reward program linked to the use of bCard smart cards is a first for the industry that we believe will produce great results,” said Lazarev. “Our plan is to develop bCard into a major business-to-business portal with growth similar to Yahoo!, Lycos, Excite and other successful portal sites.”

For more information about the bCard concept, contact at (301) 654-3779 or visit [][1].

About, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is one of America’s leading providers of smart cards and Internet-based information services. The company is a subsidiary of PrimeHoldings, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: PRIM).

About, Inc.., Inc. (OTC Board Board: PRIM), formerly PrimeSource Communications Holdings, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: PSCM) develops and operates Internet-based and Internet-related technology companies that together form a community focused on business intelligence and electronic commerce. Current companies include:, a leader in smart card technologies; PrimeSourceNet, a leader in automated forms processing services: eROI, a cutting-edge provider of technology for evaluating hard-to-measure business processes such as training and UniQuest Communications, a top agency of telecommunications reseller UniDial, Inc. For more information call 801-562-1444 or visit [][2].

bCard and are trademarks of bCard, Inc. All other product and service names are trademarks of their respective holders.

This news release may include statements which constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Please be cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve significant risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may vary materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of any number of factors, including the risk factors contained in the Company’s disclosure documents.



VISA Partners Network

Visa U.S.A., and Be Free, Inc., a leading provider of online affiliate sales technology, Tuesday announced the launch of the Visa Partners Network, an affiliate sales channel that will permit online merchants to connect with leading financial institutions.

The Visa Partners Network will give merchants access to millions of online consumers by allowing retailers to customize e-commerce storefronts on the Web sites of Visa’s Member financial institutions. By opening another access point for consumers to shop online, the Visa Partners Network creates new revenue opportunities for merchants and Visa Members.

Be Free’s BFAST(SM) technology will be used to create online storefronts for Visa Partners Network merchants and will display merchandise in context with the affiliate Member’s sites, permitting Internet users to be presented with products and services relevant to their specific wants and needs.

Be Free’s end-to-end solution allows Visa’s Member financial institutions to earn a commission for each sales transaction and to create pay-for-performance partnerships with participating merchants.

“The Visa Partners Network is a win-win for the e-commerce industry — not only will the Network provide new revenue opportunities for our merchants and Members, Visa’s partnership with Be Free makes it easier for consumers to shop online,” said Jim Degracia, senior vice president, Electronic Commerce, Visa U.S.A. “We believe that this type of network is a key driver of online retailing.”

“Visa is consistently viewed as a leader in e-commerce, and Be Free is proud to work with Visa on future developments in online commerce,” said Gordon Hoffstein, president and CEO of Be Free, Inc. “Our new relationship with Visa is further evidence that affiliate programs provide excellent solutions for online merchandising.”

The Visa Partners Network pilot program is anticipated to go live this fall. A number of leading online merchants, including,, eToys, and could be among the first retailers to participate in this pilot program.

About Visa

As the World’s Best Way to Pay, Visa is the leading payment brand on the Internet 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 [][1].

About Be Free, Inc.

Be Free, Inc. is a leading provider of online affiliate sales channel technology, services and knowledge. Be Free helps merchants build and manage merchant-branded affiliate sales channels, e-nabling(SM) online retailers to capture revenue by selling products in context on affiliate web sites.

Be Free’s clients have over one million affiliates in their sales channels and include some of the Internet’s leading merchants such as,, American Greetings, Electronic Newsstand, and Network Solutions.

Affiliates can enroll in affiliate programs using Be Free’s technology with FastApp(SM), located at:

[][2] /networks/affiliates/bf_fast_app. The company’s product offerings include the BFAST(SM) affiliate sales channel technology and the BFIT(SM) targeted advertising delivery system.

Founded in 1996, Be Free has offices in Marlborough, Mass. and Pittsburgh, Pa. For more information, visit Be Free’s web site at [][3].



XtraNet TX Volume

XtraNet Systems Inc. the Santa Ana risk management and credit card processing company, Monday announced that for the second quarter of the 1999 fiscal year the company had consolidated total revenues from processing operations of $576,540, or $.05 per share.

During the quarter total revenues rose from $178,428 in May to $301,966 in June. XtraNet anticipates continued growth in total revenues as it continues to expand the number of high volume Internet Merchants that it services and its International Merchant Banking affiliations.

“We are very pleased with the continuing growth in revenues from an increasing number of high volume Internet Merchants,” said William L. Shaw, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, “and we expect, with the anticipated opening of our Bermuda operations, and the expansion of our operations in Mexico to see continued revenue growth for the company in the third quarter.”

XtraNet is a provider of e-commerce credit card processing, proprietary risk management services, and stand alone financial processing solutions to Internet Merchants and Offshore Financial Institutions throughout the world. Having begun as a developer of extranet systems, XtraNet has now moved into the front lines of e-commerce by offering proprietary credit card processing services uniquely suited to high volume Internet Merchants worldwide.

Within its International Network, XtraNet has operations in the Caribbean, Mexico and the United States, and will soon be establishing operations in Bermuda, Latin America, South America, Europe and the United Kingdom. XtraNet projects that it will process a minimum of $500 million in total credit card transactions in 1999.


AmEx Biz Tips

The average annual revenues of a woman-owned small company in New York City is slightly less than $500,000, according to a recent survey conducted by American Express and the New York City Chapter of Women Business Owners. Average annual revenues for men-owned firms is $779,000.

While the comparison of men and women owned firms is complex, some leading experts believe part of the difference is related to how some leading experts believe part of the difference is related to how women and men manage their companies differently.

“Too many entrepreneurs under estimate the long-lasting effects of the decisions they make early on in their business,” says Carol Lapidus, Managing Director Director, American Express Tax and Business Services, New York (TBS, New York). Lapidus has 16 years experience working with New York City-based businesses, with a specialty in fashion, design and apparel firms. “If a business owner has dreams of owning a multi-million dollar enterprise some day, they have to think that way from day one, even if they have a `slow and steady’ growth plan.”

Lapidus and Neal Rosenberg, Managing Director and a colleague at TBS, New York, recommend that entrepreneurs invest in a solid five-year plan with clear measurable goals that can be tracked at milestones in the business’ life cycle.

“Entrepreneurs need to benchmark against comparable small firms, set realistic goals, and come back to that plan two to four times a year to measure their progress,” says Rosenberg, who has 21 years helping small and medium size companies

In order to assist women in growing their companies, Rosenberg and Lapidus offer the following tips:

1. Formulate a five-year strategic growth plan with realistic, attainable goals and continually monitor and measure actual results against it.

2. Determine if you can modify your firm’s products and services to add new customers.

3. Review expansion of product and service lines offered to existing customers.

4. Review financing opportunities, including alternative sources such as factoring and equipment leasing, even if you might not need the capital immediately.

5. Don’t skimp on professional advice. Hire an experienced accountant and lawyer.

6. Form alliances with suppliers, customers and strategic partners.

7. Consider forming alliances with competitors as well as complementary businesses.

8. Consider out sourcing various overhead functions that are not core to your business.

9. Make marketing and public relations a priority.

10. Think international.

American Express Tax and Business Services, New York offers a range of tax and business advisory services. It is the second largest office in a national network of offices that make TBS the 11th largest accounting firm in the country.

American Express Small Business Services (SBS) is a division of the American Express Company focused on providing a broad range of credit and capital products as well as tax and accounting services to small and mid-sized firms. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance, accounting and international banking.