Preferred Card, the leading consumer brand of Getty Images, Inc., announced Tuesday an agreement with Visa U.S.A. which designates Visa the “Preferred Card” on the site, and will allow to develop marketing promotions that will be offered exclusively to Visa cardholders.

Under the terms of this agreement, will be included in Visa’s Value-Added Offers to millions of its cardholders, and promoted through statement inserts, direct mail, sweepstakes, e-mails and online mentions. These co-branding opportunities include Visa’s Back to School and Holidays promotions featuring — expected to generate one million impressions via’s website. is included in the Visa Rewards online program via jump page advertising on [][1] and hot links to financial member web sites and two exciting sweepstakes featuring Visa as a primary means for entry. Additionally, provides Visa’s cardholders exclusive offers when shopping at [][2].

“ is proud to name Visa as its preferred card. Our goal is to create the most satisfying and enjoyable consumer experience possible on our site, and Visa shares our commitment to excellent customer service,” said Bill Lederer, CEO of “With their international reach and focus on using technology to enhance customer convenience, safety and flexibility, they are a natural partner for us in the e-commerce arena.”

During the important holiday season, hopes to generate an estimated one billion impressions through co-branded online advertising. The partnership allows, the leading destination for art and art- related products on the web, to extend its marketing programs to include Visa’s extensive customer base. According to Visa, online purchases represent one of their fastest growing market segments.

“Online purchasing has become a regular part of our customers’ shopping habits, and Visa is very pleased to be working with a leading e-commerce brand such as,” said Jim Degrocici, SVP, E-commerce, Visa U.S.A. “Partnering Visa with creates a wonderful opportunity to provide products of high quality and value to Visa’s cardholders.”

About Visa

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 630 million Visa-branded cards, which generate over US $1.3 trillion in annual volume. Visa is accepted at more than 15 million worldwide locations, including at over 450,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [][3].

About ([][4]), the consumer brand of Getty Images, Inc., is an inviting and engaging e-commerce destination that makes buying art accessible, personal and fun by offering valuable information consumers need to learn about and purchase art. The site is an enriching and convenient source for art, offering many of the world’s great prints in one place.’s expansive galleries feature master works by world-famous artists, as well as original pop culture artists. In addition to everyday discounts, personalized product choices and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, offers three distinguishing features — framing visualization software, seasonal and featured galleries, and the ArtClique(SM) Saver’s Club. is the recipient of the respected Pinnacle Award for Overall Excellence and the eMarketer Web recognition Award. is the consumer brand of Getty Images, Inc. (Nasdaq: GETY), the leading, global provider of visual content. More information about Getty Images and its visual content brands can be found on the company’s Web site at .



New Zealand E-Billing

CheckFree, in partnership with New Zealand Post, has launched a program that will enable New Zealanders to receive, view and pay their bills electronically through the Internet. Involved with the program is the Bank of New Zealand, which provides the payment mechanism and allows customers to access the system from its home banking system on the Internet. The initial bills being presented and paid on the Internet are from Saturn Communications and Bank of New Zealand Credit Cards.


Oberthur Prez

Oberthur Smart Cards USA named Philippe Tartavull president and CEO of Oberthur Smart Cards USA this morning. The former COO takes the reins from Kirk Hyde who has held the CEO post since 1980 and who will remain on the Board of Directors. Oberthur Smart Cards USA resulted from the purchase of family-owned Kirk Plastic Company by Groupe Franssois-Charles Oberthur in October of 1996. For six years, Philippe Tartavull was the president and CEO of SYSECA, a $25 million North American subsidiary of Thomson CSF, helping to diversify the company into future high growth markets including interactive TV, smart cards and Internet/Intranet technologies.


FDC Storefronts

Excite@Home, a global media company, Tuesday announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire iMALL, Inc. , a leading provider of fully integrated, “one-stop” e-commerce solutions. In the merger, Excite@Home will issue approximately 8.3 million shares of Excite@Home stock, having a value of approximately $425 million and also will assume iMALL’s outstanding options and warrants. In addition, Excite@Home and First Data Corporation subsidiary First Data Merchant Services, a leading electronic commerce payments solution provider, today announced an agreement to enable merchants to quickly establish an online commerce storefront with transaction capabilities and access to Excite’s millions of daily users.

These two agreements provide Excite@Home with industry-leading momentum in adding merchants to the Excite Shopping Service for consumers. For businesses, the First Data/iMALL solution will be marketed through @Work, Excite@Home’s business-to-business division which provides Internet access and hosting solutions, to various Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) resellers and other third parties that want to offer their e-commerce services for sale. First Data gains the opportunity to begin generating enormous consumer traffic for its merchant alliance partners’ and financial institution customers’ online merchants. Excite@Home and First Data will also explore opportunities to develop and cross-promote additional products and services in a preferred marketing relationship. This relationship has the potential to give Excite@Home in-store exposure to a base of more than two million merchant locations, and First Data clients’ merchants exposure to Excite’s 22 million unique visitors each month.

The three-way relationship leverages iMALL’s unique commerce capabilities, which make it extremely easy for merchants to set up an online storefront, and First Data’s electronic commerce payment solutions and processing technologies to enable merchants to put up electronic storefronts which will enrich the Excite Shopping Service. These services, along with Excite’s popularity with consumers, position Excite@Home and First Data at the forefront of offering merchants commerce solutions on the Web.


First Data Merchant Services, which processes and settles more than 5 billion credit and debit card transactions annually, currently has an 11% ownership stake in iMALL. First Data will work with Excite@Home to market its new e-commerce solution to First Data’s financial institution clients and their respective merchants. Merchants using the new commerce solution on the Excite portal service will automatically have all back-end banking services integrated, including merchant application processing and transaction gateway, set up in hours rather than weeks. As merchants are additionally enrolled into Excite@Home’s searchable directory of products and stores, the Excite Shopping service will have one of the largest shopping offerings for consumers online.

Inside the Excite@Home Network, this new solution will be leveraged in two ways:

The Business-To-Business offering: The new electronic commerce solution will be offered to partners through @Work. For small businesses, the First Data/iMALL solution will continue to be marketed through third parties that want to offer their e-commerce services for sale.

The Business-To-Consumer offering: The suite of electronic commerce services will serve the business-to-consumer market through the Excite portal. Merchants can benefit from the significant reach of the popular Excite Shopping Service (). As First Data’s financial institution partners begin promoting the new solution, and merchants begin establishing Web storefronts with thousands of offerings, the Excite Shopping Service is well positioned to become a premier online shopping area with an unparalleled breadth and depth of both merchants and products. These online merchants will be supported through promotion and Web advertising designed to generate traffic and increase sales activities for their sites.


Excite@Home and First Data will offer merchants one of the easiest and fastest solutions to become an online retailer. The joint e-commerce solution offers merchants a comprehensive package of electronic commerce tools to get online and start selling the same day, including: Web-site development, online shopping carts, a merchant account, sales tax and shipping calculations, secure payment processing, and most important, traffic-building and promotions opportunities.

“We view this agreement with Excite@Home as a natural extension of and terrific enhancement to our Internet commerce strategy. Our clients’ merchants will benefit from the enormous traffic that the Excite service generates, and our financial institution partners will have an even more compelling proposition to enhance existing customer relationships as well as attract new merchant customers. This agreement reinforces our leadership position in providing e-commerce payment solutions, and we see significant opportunities to leverage this relationship both today and for the long term,” said Ric Duques, chairman and chief executive officer of First Data Corporation.

“Through our acquisition of iMALL and our new relationship with First Data, we have in a single step become a leader in offering the most complete end-to-end e-commerce solutions to merchants who want to become online retailers – a huge trend in American commerce,” said George Bell, president, Excite@Home. “The combined solution gives us critical mass to bring together online buyers and sellers with new services for our business-to-business efforts – benefiting our @Work division, and business-to-consumer transactions. By becoming the best solution for merchants, we attract thousands of stores and products that will make the Excite shopping services the best choice for consumers looking to buy online.”


Excite@Home and iMALL have executed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of iMALL. Under that agreement, each shareholder of iMALL will receive 0.46 shares of Excite@Home Series A Common Stock for each share of iMALL Common Stock. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the shareholders of iMALL. The transaction is expected to close in the 4th quarter of 1999. As part of the agreement, First Data, Richard Rosenblatt and certain other iMALL shareholders who, in the aggregate, hold over 40% of the outstanding shares of iMALL, have agreed to vote in favor of the transaction. After the closing of the acquisition, iMALL will operate as an independent subsidiary of Excite@Home reporting to its @Work division.

“Offering a simple turn-key solution is critical to getting stores online and is the foundation of our business strategy. Joining the Excite@Home family is an exciting next step in the life of our company,” said Richard Rosenblatt, CEO, iMALL, Inc. “We are delighted to deliver this opportunity to iMALL shareholders. iMALL set the standard with e-commerce solutions that enabled merchants to set up shop on the Web in less than a day, and now together with the popular Excite Excite@Home>mailto:Excite@Home Shopping Service and Excite@Home’s @Work division, we will deliver huge benefits to both merchants and consumers.”

About iMALL

iMALL, Inc. is a leading provider of fully integrated, “one-stop” e-commerce solutions. iMALL’s unique e-commerce solutions and integrated process allow businesses to create fully commerce enabled Web sites or add transaction capabilities to their existing ones, establish “Internet ready” merchant accounts online, and process customer orders securely through iMALL’s proprietary payment gateway. To help increase businesses’ online sales, iMALL’s popular shopping portals and sophisticated shopper services are integrated into iMALL’s e-commerce solutions. iMALL’s e-commerce solution,, created jointly with First Data Merchant Services, in located at>. iMALL’s shopping portals are located at> and>. For additional information, visit iMALL’s corporate site at .

About First Data

Atlanta-based First Data Corporation (NYSE: FDC) is a leader in payment services, electronic commerce and transaction management products and services. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or stored-value card at the point of sale, over the Internet, by check or by wire transfer. First Data Merchant Services Corporation (FDMS), a wholly owned subsidiary of First Data Corporation, is one of the nation’s leading providers of electronic commerce solutions for hundreds of financial institutions and two million merchant locations. For further information, visit .

About Excite@Home

Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) is a global media company based in Redwood City, Calif. Through the company’s narrowband portal, Excite ([][1]), and broadband services, @Home and @Work, the company uniquely offers consumers content and interactive services across both narrowband and broadband, and advertisers highly targeted marketing solutions across all platforms of delivery. Leveraging the high-speed, always-on attributes of cable, Excite@Home empowers unique multimedia applications that go beyond current Web experiences. The company will combine the Excite brand – one of the best known names on the Internet with 70 percent recognition among Web users – with @Home’s broad distribution, a worldwide footprint of more than 65 million cable homes, to deliver on its vision of “All Band, All Device, All the Time.”



NPC Says “NO”

National Processing, Inc. reported Tuesday that its Special Committee of its Board of Directors has determined that the tender offer by National City Corporation is inadequate and is out to squeeze NPC’s minority shareholders. The Special Committee urged NPC’s minority shareholders to reject the National City tender offer yesterday. National City currently owns approximately 88% of National Processing’s shares. The Special Committee’s decision focused on the inappropriate timing of the tender offer, which is scheduled to be completed before National Processing’s minority shareholders have an opportunity to fully assess National Processing’s recent divestitures, improved operating performance and increased focus on its core businesses and the unfair nature of National City’s tender offer, which permits National City to waive the minimum condition to the tender offer and “squeeze out” the minority shareholders in a second step merger if as few as 2% of National Processing’s outstanding shares (or 17% of the publicly held shares) are tendered.


Plugging Along

Associates First Capital continues to plug along as managed receivables surpassed $78 billion and total managed assets approach $100 billion. For 2Q/99 Associates held $10,667,800,000 in credit card receivables, which includes bank credit cards and private label cards. For 1Q/99 Associates has $10,296,800,000 in card loans compared to $7,887,800,000 for 2Q/98. Net earnings for the second quarter reached $358.1 million, a 22% increase over the same period a year earlier. Credit card delinquency (60+ day) improved slightly to 4.13% from 4.73% for 1Q/99 and 4.09% for 2Q/98. Charge-offs also declined to 7.55% for 2Q/99 compared to 7.52% for 1Q/99 and 7.63% for 2Q/98. For complete financials on Associates visit CardData ([][1]).



A Class Act

MBNA continues to pump out about 100 affinity programs per quarter and an average of two million new accounts every ninety days according to data gathered by CardData ([][1]). MBNA reported yesterday that net income for the second quarter of 1999 rose 28.6% during the second quarter of this year compared to last year. The company says it has produced consistent earnings increases, averaging 25%, in each of the thirty-four quarters since it became a public company. Total managed loans grew $2.4 billion during the second quarter to end up at $64.5 billion for 2Q/99. MBNA has approx. $2.0 billion in non-card loans and about $5.0 billion in international card receivables. Delinquency on total managed loans was 4.64% at June 30, 1999 compared to 4.60% for 2Q/98. Managed charge-offs for the second quarter logged in at 4.41% compared to 4.42% last year. MBNA says 2Q/99 charge volume, which includes purchases and cash advances, tallied up to $25,929,706,000 compared to $19,764,469,000 for 2Q/98. The firm’s net interest margin surged to 7.70% for 2Q/99 from 7.45% for 2Q/98. For complete current and historical financials for MBNA visit CardData ([][2]).


First Quarter 1998 110 1.7 million $149.4 million
Second Quarter 1998 111 2.5 million $172.0 million
Third Quarter 1998 121 2.4 million $216.6 million
Fourth Quarter 1998 133 2.7 million $238.3 million
First Quarter 1999 81 1.7 million* $186.0 million
Second Quarter 1999 99 1.4 million $227.2 million

*excludes 3.3 million accounts from PNC portfolio acquisition and
200,000 accounts from First Virginia portfolio acquisition.

Source: CardData
( 301-631-9100



Paycheck Accept

Equifax unveiled Monday a new offensive to combat fraudulent cashing of payroll checks at supermarkets across the country. ‘PayCheck Accept’ reduces fraud by performing basic identification validation, monitoring prior check cashing experience and activity, validating Social Security numbers and comparing the check payee to identification information in the Equifax credit database. ‘PayCheck Accept’ will undergo extensive testing with two prominent grocery store chains in the US. Because of the sensitive nature of the information and because Equifax will check entered ID information against the ID information in the Equifax credit database, Equifax will operate PayCheck Accept under all the provisions of FCRA. Equifax will also provide a fully staffed consumer call center to assist consumers who are declined or referred for other action and will explain the reason for the decline or referral.



MBNA International yesterday signed up the Lawn Tennis Association, a governing body for tennis in the U.K. The Association, with over 55,000 members, will offer an MBNA affinity card to its membership. MBNA says it now has more than 650 affinity relationships in the U.K. MBNA International, which started operation in the U.K. in 1993, now has more than $5 billion in loans outstanding.


eFunds Wins

eFunds, a business unit of Deluxe Corporation, yesterday announced that it has won one of the 1998 STAR Annual Top Performing Processor awards. STAR is a national electronic funds transfer network. Its award recognizes eFunds as one of the best performing STAR ATM processors in the country with an average uptime of 99.96 percent.

“This award recognizes eFunds commitment to give customers the best service possible,” said Debra Janssen, president and CEO of eFunds. “We appreciate STAR recognizing our commitment to top-notch ATM processing and availability. In this time of increased convenience, its what consumers expect and deserve and its what we deliver.”

The STAR award is based on ATM transactions only and honors a total of eight processors in two categories. eFunds received its award in the class A category, which is given for processing more than 450,000 transactions each month with the highest uptime. In 1998, eFunds processed more than 11.2 million ATM transactions for its 83 financial institution customers and STAR with a 99.96 percent uptime.

“The STAR award is an incentive for ATM processors to perform at the best level possible,” said Ronald V. Congemi, president and CEO for Star Systems, Inc. “Some networks penalize processors for low uptime. We reward them for high uptime.”

Among the other honorees in class A category is the CO-OP Network. eFunds processes ATM transactions for the CO-OP Network. “It was gratifying to have one of our most valued processing clients also receive a STAR award,” said Janssen.

“We are delighted by the STAR award,” said Kevin Sarber, CO-OP Network senior vice president of network services and development. “Providing our credit union members with high-quality ATM processing services is a top priority. Our relationship with eFunds helps us do that.”

About eFunds

eFunds provides leading electronic payments solutions to providers and customers engaged in commerce, any time, any place. eFunds helps financial services customers and retailers manage, secure and process debit-related transactions while minimizing risk and optimizing customer opportunity. End-to-end solutions include customer and identity verification; and electronic transaction authorization, capture, conversion, processing and settlement.

About Deluxe

Deluxe Corporation (NYSE: DLX) is a holding company composed of four business units:

eFunds, Deluxe Paper Payment Systems, iDLX Technology Partners, and Deluxe Government Services. For more information about Deluxe, visit About Star Systems, Inc.

Star Systems, Inc. serves more than 3,700 financial institution members and their 79 million ATM/debit cardholders via more than 70,000 ATMs and 400,000 merchant point-of-sale (POS) locations, processing an average of 200 million transactions per month. In addition to network services, Star Systems, Inc. offers financial institutions off-line debit processing, card production, ATM services and gateway access to home banking and national network services. For more information, visit the STAR Web site at

About CO-OP Network

CO-OP Network is a national EFT network and provides a broad array of electronic financial products and services for more than 400 member credit unions in 31 states. CO-OP Network members enjoy surcharge free access to more than 3,000 ATMs, of which more than 75 percent have deposit access. With more than 200 million annual transactions, CO-OP Network brings efficiency, economy, product diversity and outstanding client service to its members. CO-OP is owned and controlled by member credit unions. It is headquartered in Ontario, Calif.


TSYS Heads South

Total System Services signed of a multi-year agreement with Bancahsa, the second-largest bank in Honduras, to process its ‘Honducard-VISA’ credit cards. The processing contract includes the combined portfolios of Bancahsa and subsidiaries, Bancahorro and Credihsa. TSYS will process the ‘Honducard-VISA’ accounts from its Columbus, Ga., headquarters and provide production and support from TSYS de Mexico’s facilities in Toluca, Mexico. Bancahsa is headquartered in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Together with the subsidiary companies of El Ahorro Hondureno Group, S.A., Bancahsa represents the most complete financial services institution in Honduras, supported by a network of over 100 strategically located offices and more than 30 ATMs in the principal cities of Honduras.