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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

CREDIT CARD BOND HISTORICAL
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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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Amtrak Phone Card Expands

SIMS Communications, Inc. announced Tuesday that the Company’s prepaid phone card agreement with Amtrak has been expanded to include four additional train stations. Travelers can purchase custom designed Amtrak phone cards now, available from SIMS’ vending machines located in Amtrak’s Portland, OR; Eugene, OR; and Seattle, WA train stations and, later this summer, at Santa Barbara CA. The Amtrak series of collectible phone cards are available in $10 and $20 denominations.

SIMS also announced the second in a limited edition series of phone cards commemorating Amtrak trains. This latest card depicts the Amtrak Cascades trains inaugurated this month. These sleek, modern, European-style trains feature a distinctive evergreen and cappuccino color scheme and sport unique seven-foot tail fins. The Amtrak Cascades trains use pendular train technology and tilt to travel through curves and maintain speed. This results in reduced travel times while maintaining passenger comfort. Last fall Amtrak and SIMS Communications, Inc., partnered to create the first Amtrak calling card featuring The Coast Starlight.

The Cascades card currently may be purchased from vending machines at Amtrak stations located in San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Oakland, Bakersfield, Fresno, Emeryville, Anaheim, and Stockton, California; Eugene, Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington and through Amtrak’s merchandise order line at 800-400-1229.

Amtrak is the nation’s intercity passenger railroad and operates in more than 500 communities around the country.

SIMS Communications provides low cost, turnkey, transaction processing solutions to service providers and retailers. Its products include medical insurance verification, medical billing, prepaid phone card activations, customer affinity programs, financial transaction processing using credit cards and ATM/Debit cards and customized associated vertical market applications.

This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to, the impact of competitive products and pricing, product demand and market acceptance, reliance on key strategic alliances, fluctuations in operating results and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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CreditFYI on MSN

Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. and netearnings announced this week that the Microsoft* Service NetworkTM Small Business Channel ([business.msn.com/finance/credit.asp][1]) has signed an agreement to feature CreditFYISM, the Internet service created by netearnings and Fair, Isaac. CreditFYI delivers instant business credit reports over the Internet, providing a revolutionary way for small businesses to make faster and more informed decisions about extending credit to their business customers.

According to Michael Grossman, President and CEO of netearnings, “Our presence on MSN is instrumental to increasing CreditFYI’s visibility, making the service more easily accessible to the small business market, and increasing awareness of its numerous benefits.”

Frederic de Wulf, Senior Product Planner for the MSN Small Business Channel said, “CreditFYI is an innovative solution offering visitors to the MSN Small Business Channel a practical service which enables small business owners to obtain business credit reports in real-time. It enhances MSN’s goals to help Internet users get things done on the Web.” Latimer Asch, Vice President of Commercial Markets at Fair, Isaac added, “Combining the simple, straightforward interface to CreditFYI with the vast network of MSN makes it as easy as a click-of-a-mouse for more business owners to make informed decisions about the creditworthiness of the small businesses they serve.”

Compared with traditional business credit reports, CreditFYI reports are substantially faster to obtain, easier to understand, and less expensive. Targeted to the more than 10 million small businesses in the U.S.-specifically those that extend credit to other small businesses-CreditFYI is the most statistically accurate and efficient way via the Internet to evaluate the credit risk of businesses with less than $5 million in sales.

Founded in 1996, netearnings ([www.netearnings.com][2]) is an Internet company that combines proprietary Web technology and small business expertise to offer small businesses-and the financial institutions serving them-a portfolio of online financial services. netearnings products are designed to offer small businesses what has been previously impossible: the ability to conduct financial transactions over the Internet in real-time. Fair, Isaac ([www.fairisaac.com][3]) helps businesses worldwide maximize the value of data to make more profitable decisions about their customers, operations and portfolios. Fair, Isaac delivers data management services, analytics, software, and consulting to the financial services, direct marketing, personal lines insurance, retail, and healthcare industries. Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day. For more information about CreditFYI, call Fair, Isaac at 1-800-999-2955.

[1]: http://business.msn.com/finance/credit.asp
[2]: http://www.netearnings.com
[3]: http://www.fairisaac.com

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NCR ATM Leader

NCR Corporation says it is now the number-one ATM vendor supplier in the United States.

While NCR has led ATM shipments for 12 consecutive years worldwide, this marks the first time that the company has outstripped its rivals in the U.S. NCR shipped 15,019 ATM units in 1998, compared with 12,851 for its nearest competitor, according to published surveys.

For NCR this represents an eight percent increase over 1997 shipments and 59 percent growth over the past two years. Shipment growth was strong in all sectors of the market, from entry-level through cash dispensers to full- function and drive-up terminals.

“NCR understands the challenges that face our customers today and offers the best solutions to solve these complex issues,” said Per-Olof Loof, senior vice president of NCR’s Financial Solutions Group. “Our comprehensive end-to- end solutions allow our customers to link all aspects of their business effectively and synergistically. This improves customer service and optimizes channel usage. Rising shipments are a clear signal that our customers understand the importance of making those connections.”

Worldwide, NCR also saw an increase in its overall volume of ATMs shipped at a time when its competitors were experiencing declines. NCR global shipments were up 10 percent from 1997, with 46,509 units shipped. The increase came in spite of industry fears that Y2K issues and corporate mergers would negatively affect ATM sales.

Specific NCR solutions that have made NCR number-one in ATM shipments in the U.S. include:

* Managed Solutions for Self Service (MSSS), a comprehensive portfolio of services that provides total care and management of the self-service terminal environment.

* NCR’s leadership in Web-enabled ATMs, Biometrics, Personal Cash Accept and Intelligent Security Solutions.

* NCR’s new portfolio of drive-up terminals, which offers the greatest functionality in its class.

* Popular new entry-level ATMs such as the MCD Cash Dispenser and the personaS 70 lite.

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is in the business of transforming transactions into relationships. NCR is a recognized world leader in data warehousing solutions, ATMs, point-of-sale, high performance scanners, and support services for retail, financial, and national accounts markets. NCR’s business solutions are built on the foundation of the company’s long- established industry knowledge and consulting expertise, value-adding software, global customer support services, a complete line of consumable and media products, and world-leading hardware technology. Financial Solutions Group (FSG) of NCR delivers products and services to banks and financial institutions including self-service solutions, customer management solutions, channel deliver solutions and payment solutions. It also operates The Knowledge Lab, a unique collaborative environment where NCR, leading banks, and academic institutions partner to develop ideas that will transform financial transactions in the future. More information about NCR and its products may be found on the World Wide Web at [www.ncr.com][1].

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

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