NDC eCommerce

National Data Corporation has launched a new line of business called NDC eCommerce. NDC eCommerce will consolidate under common management the functions performed by the Integrated Payment Systems and Global Payment Systems and will be phased in by June 1. Thomas Dunn, the head of IPS will serve as COO while Robert Yellowlees will serve as CEO. David Hunt, who headed GPS, will be leaving NDC shortly. The new unit will have a parallel structure to NDC Health Information Services.


Smallest Reader

Brea, CA-based ID TECH unveiled the smallest swipe reader available for reading credit card mag stripes yesterday. ‘MiniMag’ is 90mm long, about the length of a standard credit card. It reads up to three tracks of magnetic stripe information with a single swipe in either direction. It has both beeper and LED indicators to signal a successful read, as well as extensive data formatting and editing capabilities. The ‘MiniMag’ is available in TTL, RS-232, and keyboard wedge configurations.


Bankruptcy Decline

A projected five to ten percent decline in the number of consumer bankruptcies in 1999 will help drive earnings growth at some consumer finance companies. As a result U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray yesterday raised earnings estimates for MBNA, Capital One, Providian, American Express and Metris Companies. Piper Jaffray says installment credit and credit card issuance act as leading indicators for changes in the number of consumer bankruptcy filings. PJ says that a drop in bankruptcies in 1993 and 1994 was preceded by slowing growth in consumer installment credit from 1990 to 1992. Therefore the slowdown in the growth of consumer credit in 1996 and 1997, due to a concern over deteriorating credit quality, should lead to a decline in bankruptcies beginning with first quarter 1999. Therefore PJ projects that declining bankruptcies will have a significant impact on lender profitability, adding from 5% to 25% more earnings power in 1999. The firm also predicts Capital One will overtake MBNA as the industry leader for the lowest net losses.


Major Chargeoff Sale

Asta Fundings, Inc., an emerging leader in the distressed consumer receivables market, Wednesday announced the purchase of approximately $1.35 billion of charged-off credit card receivables from a major financial institution. The purchase was made through the newly formed subsidiaries: Asta Funding Acquisition I, II and III LLC. Details of the purchase price were not disclosed.

Gary Stern, President and CEO of Asta Funding, stated, “I am extremely enthused about this significant acquisition of receivables, which represents one of the larger bulk purchases of charged-off credit card receivables in recent history. Asta will continue its aggressive expansion into the billion dollar distressed receivable market which, we believe, will ultimately garner long-term shareholder value.”

Englewood Cliffs-based Asta Funding, Inc. and subsidiaries own and manage distressed consumer receivables and originate sub-prime automobile loans.

Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this news release are forward-looking statements. Although, Asta Funding, Inc. believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that expectations can be realized. Forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from Asta Funding Inc.’s expectations. Factors that could contribute to such differences include those identified in Asta Funding, Inc.’s most recent Registration Statement on From S-1, its form 10KSB for the year ended September 30, 1998 and the 10-Q for the quarter ended December 31, 1998, and those described from time to time in Asta Funding Inc.’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, news releases and other communications.


VisionPLUS South Africa

PaySys International, Inc., the company which develops the globally recognized financial management system software, VisionPLUS, recently converted some 5.3 million accounts of Edgars Stores Limited, the leading department store chain in South Africa.

The conversion into a single VisionPLUS portfolio means customers gain great payment plan flexibility while Edgars increases it’s ability to control collections and fraud. Edgars, with its head office in Johannesburg, is comprised of several South African chain stores: Edgars, Sales House, Jet and the Shoe Corporation.

The conversion involved data merging from three unique in-house software databases into one portfolio. “With some 700 stores, a portfolio of some 5.3 million accounts, including 3.5-million active customers and more than a million dormant accounts, the VisionPLUS system will pay for itself easily over three years,” said Robert Leathers, group credit executive.

“This is one of the largest consumer credit systems and operations in the country. We want to leverage the new functionality to maximize our profitability,” he added.

“The VisionPLUS system enables account holders to operate different payment plans from the same account,” he explained. “Certain credit card holders can charge amounts on an interest free or interest bearing plan,” he added.

A key feature of the system that attracted VisionPLUS to Edgars, was its ability to control collections and fraud. Leathers pointed out that the PaySys VisionPLUS system offers customer managed credit limits, also helping to prevent the use of stolen cards. The group credit division are alerted when a sudden activity of purchases take place. New control systems are also being introduced to minimize check fraud. “If we can reduce the cost of credit, we pass the benefit on to our customers,” Leathers said.

To assure the success of the project, a team was established strictly for this project, including a PaySys employee who transferred to South Africa to work with Edgars. “We put together a team to work on this conversion for we were determined to provide our top experts and leaders to this project. Our employees dedicated themselves to the processes needed for VisionPLUS to run successfully at Edgars,” said Stephen B. Grubb, president and CEO of PaySys International, Inc. “Our relationship with Edgars enhances our goal to be the global leader in credit and receivable management solutions,” he pointed out.

PaySys is known globally as the market leader in credit card management software, with installations running in more than 30 countries on six continents. More banks, finance companies and retailers use PaySys software solutions and more credit card accounts are processed on PaySys systems each day than any other card solution.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., PaySys has more than 400 employees and operates offices and support centers in Orlando, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio; Melbourne, Australia; Dublin, Ireland; Singapore; Costa Rica and Johannesburg, South Africa.


GS Biz Plan

San Francisco-based GS Telecom projects its ‘ATTM Universal Card’ and ‘Convergent Technology Model’ will produce revenues of more than $1 billion per year by the year 2004. In the GS prospectus, to be published this Friday, the company’s six key technologies are expected to increase from a $15-million in year 2000, to $1.5-billion within four years. Last week GS announced its ‘ATTM Universal Card’, an anonymous currency card that also makes possible instantaneous, anonymous transactions over the Internet. The ATTM card is a pre-loaded hybrid, smart card that will enable transactions in 53 currencies. GS expects to issue one million cards over the next 36 months.


Rosy Outlook?

Portfolio performance among $184 billion in outstandings of credit card-backed securities improved again last month according to the latest Fitch IBCA ‘Credit Card Performance Indexes’. Chargeoffs reported in March for the February collection period were 6.05%, a 64 basis point improvement from the year-ago level of 6.69%, pushing the index to its second lowest level since November 1997. The Fitch IBCA ’60+ Day Delinquency Index’ fell 3 basis points to 3.25% and remains significantly below the 3.50% level from a year ago. As expected with a decline in chargeoffs and an increase in yield, three-month excess spread rose 22 basis points from last month to 5.69%, a level not experienced since September 1994. Portfolio yields rose 26 basis points from the prior month and charted its thirty-second consecutive year-over-year increase, continuing to benefit from increased fees throughout the industry, maturation of teaser rate product, and issuers’ ability to reprice riskier cardholders. Fitch IBCA also reports the total monthly payment rate index slid 38 basis points from the prior month to 15.44% and continued to perform to levels not experienced since the second half of 1994. The higher payment rates can be attributed to the overall improved financial health of consumers due to the current state of the economy, cardholders paying down balances with the use of other debt consolidation products, and the widespread use of reward-type cards that encourage convenience usage.

Period Chargeoff Yield MPR Delinquency
Mar99 6.05 19.49 15.44 3.25

Feb99 6.10 19.23 15.82 3.28
Jan99 6.00 19.57 15.62 3.15
Dec98 6.27 19.45 15.06 3.26
Nov98 6.20 19.99 15.87 3.26
Oct98 6.35 19.12 15.09 3.19
Sep98 6.29 19.81 15.65 3.17
Aug98 6.30 19.58 15.99 3.15
Jul98 6.72 19.01 15.34 3.17
Jun98 6.63 19.02 14.88 3.23
May98 6.58 18.73 15.21 3.28
Apr98 6.68 20.28 15.77 3.39
Mar98 6.69 18.83 14.38 3.50
Yield-gross yield; MPR-monthly payment rate;
delinquency-60 day delinquency; all figures are %
Source: Fitch IBCA


Concord Gets Iced

Concord EFS, Inc. purchased more than over 30,000 Hypercom ‘ICE 5000’ terminals yesterday along with Hypercom’s ‘Ascendent SigCap’ software system to offer to its merchant network. Concord EFS becomes the first company in the world to install a production of ‘Ascendent SigCap’ solution and the first U.S. company to install a complete ‘Ascendent’ platform. The new system will allow Concord to provide a complete, end-to-end electronic signature capture and retrieval solution, including point-of-sale devices, networking equipment and centralized transaction processing. Concord says that bringing signature capture to the small-to-medium sized retailer is a giant leap in the transaction processing industry.


FDC Y2K Status

First Data announced Tuesday it has completed 100 percent of code renovation on the First Data Merchant Services Nashville front-end platform. The Nashville platform is the last First Data system scheduled for code renovation. The Nashville platform is one of six front-end FDMS platforms that perform point-of-sale capture and/or authorization services. Originally the Nashville system was to be converted to a new platform, the ‘FDMS 6000’ system, which is Y2K ready and is in production. However, due to delays in the conversion of the Nashville platform to the ‘FDMS 6000’ system, the company decided last month to remediate the Nashville front-end platform as a contingency measure. FDC says it plans to complete future-dated testing by the end of June with the code in full production by mid-July.


Direct Connect

Phone-Net through BCDonline, has formed a strategic alliance with Virtual Merchant, Inc., a national leader in providing merchant services and e-commerce solutions, to provide online merchants with a complete internet marketplace solution, Web Design, Hosting, Internet Access, Merchant Accounts (accepting credit card payments ), Online Processing (of credit card and check payments), Virtual Mall, and Phon-Net’s Direct Connect.

Virtual Merchant’s extensive technology experience and marketing capabilities, coupled with their merchant services and online processing prowess has created one of the most powerful resources available to internet merchants. “When you add Phon-Net Direct Connect to that mix, the merchant has the most complete solution available today,” stated Virtual Merchant.

Direct Connect now makes it possible for a customer to speak with a merchant at the same time they are visiting that merchants website. Direct Connect is the ideal product for merchants that thought they could use a presence on the world wide web either because they don’t sell on-line or because they don’t have time and resources to monitor e-mails. A web presence now means the merchants potential customers can find them on the internet and then call the merchant without having to go off line. Small businesses with limited budgets and personnel can now reach around the globe and compete with the bigger rivals.

Virtual merchant offers merchants the most advanced on-line processing programs and the opportunity to secure merchant accounts. Merchant Accounts are the means by which merchants are able to accept credit card payments from their customers. Accepting credit cards, particularly on-line, has proven to be indispensable for merchants who want to grow and prosper on the internet.

For additional information on Virtual Merchant visit them at their website, www.thevm.com. To demo Phon-Net software go to: [www.bcdonline.com/phon-net.htm][1]

All forward-looking statements made by Phon-Net Corporation involve material risks and uncertainties and are subject to change based on factors beyond Phon-Net Corporation’s control. Accordingly, Phon-Net Corporation’s future performance and financial results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in any such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, those described in Phon-Net Corporation’s filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Phon-Net Corporation does not undertake to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that any projected results expressed or implied therein will not be realized.

[1]: http://www.bcdonline.com/phon-net.htm


MC E-Purchasing Card

Following Monday’s purchasing card announcements by VISA and American Express (CF 3/30), MasterCard announced yesterday a multi-faceted strategic alliance with CT-based EC Cubed, Inc. Under the terms of the global marketing agreement, EC Cubed will provide the enabling technology for MasterCard’s business-to-business e-Commerce infrastructure and will work with MasterCard to co-develop a range of business-to-business e-Commerce applications. The first joint initiative is the development of an open, Internet-based, data capture system that supports MasterCard’s ‘Corporate Purchasing Card’. EC Cubed’s application component suite, ‘ecWorks’, will provide the underlying infrastructure needed to create an Internet ‘Commercial Card Gateway’ through which purchase order data is transmitted from any front-end electronic procurement software solution to the MasterCard purchasing card system. The MasterCard gateway will significantly extend MasterCard’s data reporting capabilities, providing the corporate purchasing department with the line-item, Level 3 data needed to better track and control enterprise-wide spending via the Internet.


Diebold Snags NCR Exec

Diebold International, Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Diebold, Incorporated, has appointed Barry Harrison vice president, customer services for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He will be based at Diebold’s EMEA headquarters in London, where his prime task will be to grow the financial service solutions business to achieve market leadership within five years.

Harrison joins Diebold after 30 years service with NCR where he held a number of senior positions, most recently vice president, global outsourcing based in London. Other positions he had held at NCR include vice president, financial services in London and Dayton, Ohio; director, European Business Development; director, Scotland and Ireland; and engineering support manager, U.K.

His experience in both service and manufacturing brings to Diebold a strong history of global expertise and proven leadership in the self-service business, which is well recognized within the worldwide banking community. “Diebold’s vision to bring real business solutions to the market is in line with my personal vision,” Harrison said. “The opportunity to grow Diebold’s market share in Europe, the Middle East and Africa is tremendous. Bankers are looking for a company with focus and commitment to improve their business results.”

Diebold, Incorporated is the global leader in providing integrated delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, the company employs more than 6,000 associates in some 120 locations worldwide with headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of US$1.2 billion in 1998 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [www.diebold.com][1].

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