FUSA Gets Nice

NICE Systems, a leading global provider of digital voice recording systems, Monday announced that FirstUSA has standardized on NICE’s state-of-the-art call center monitoring and quality management system, NiceUniverse, for all of its customer service centers.

NiceUniverse tracks and records agents’ voice and computer screen activity and provides tools for supervisors and management to evaluate every component of the customer care provided by the call center.

FirstUSA, the largest Visa and MasterCard lender in the nation, is rolling out NiceUniverse to monitor and evaluate the activity of its customer service representatives (CSRs), who serve over 56 million card members. NICE’s computer telephony integrated (CTI) solution will be implemented in multiple sites and the completed implementation is valued at millions of dollars.

Installation of the NiceUniverse system is complete in the majority of First USA’s call centers, with the remaining installation to be completed during 1999.

The open architecture of the NICE recording platform allows NiceUniverse to be integrated with FirstUSA’s existing call center technology. This vast array of technology ensures that all customer inquiries at FirstUSA are handled efficiently and accurately by highly skilled CSRs.

Benny Levin, Chairman and CEO of NICE Systems, commented today: “We are very impressed with FirstUSA’s overall commitment to the call center and to its customer care. NiceUniverse is ideally suited to work within FirstUSA’s existing CTI environment and I am confident that FirstUSA is a company that will truly take advantage of all of the system’s features.”

First USA (), a subsidiary of BANK ONE CORPORATION (NYSE: ONE), is the nation’s largest Visa credit card issuer. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Chicago, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of more than 1,500 marketing partners. BANK ONE, with assets of more than $260 billion, is the nation’s fourth largest bank holding company.

NICE Systems (Nasdaq: NICEY) is a leading global provider of integrated digital recording and quality management solutions. NICE’s innovative solutions help customers improve their business by effectively recording, storing, evaluating and managing voice communications, call data, desktop screens and video. NICE serves the business needs of multiple markets, primarily financial institutions, call centers, air traffic control (ATC) sites, public safety centers, and closed circuit television (CCTV) security installations. The company sells indirectly to customers through its global distribution partners including leading telecommunication providers such as Lucent Technologies, Siemens, Alcatel, IPC Information Systems and ETRALI, and a growing distributor network around the world. NICE’s corporate headquarters are based in Israel with subsidiary companies and local offices in the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and France.

This press release contains forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are based on the current expectations of the management of NICE Systems Ltd. (the Company) only, and are subject to a number of risk factors and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in technology and market requirements, decline in demand for the company’s products, inability to timely develop and introduce new technologies, products and applications, loss of market share, pressure on pricing resulting from competition, inability to maintain certain marketing and distribution arrangements, which could cause the actual results or performance of the company to differ materially from those described therein. For a more detailed description of the risk factors and uncertainties affecting the company, refer to the Company’s reports filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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TSYS – Sears

Total System Services has successfully converted 24 million Sears credit card accounts to the ‘TS2’ card-processing system during the week of March 2. These accounts, the second part of a three-phase conversion, represent 36% percent of the Sears private-label card portfolio. Since completing the conversion, TSYS now processes 31 million Sears accounts. TSYS will convert the final phase in the second quarter of 1999, thus completing its largest conversion ever, a total of 65 million accounts.

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Diebold’s New Walk-Up

Diebold, Incorporated , a world leader in automated teller machines, is displaying the world’s first self-contained, exterior walk-up cash dispenser, the 1075ix, at the CeBIT world business fair in Hannover, Germany. The 1075ix creates new opportunities for deployers to install units in unique outdoor locations away from bank branches.

The new and exclusive 1075ix is a free-standing, walk-up cash dispenser which features a durable weather and vandal-resistant housing that does not require a protective building or enclosure. Deployers can use the 1075ix to expand their presence without the expense of building new structures or making new terminals fit into existing buildings. Because no additional structure is required, a 1075ix can be placed for one-third to one-half the cost of other units.

The 1075ix can also be installed in areas where security is a primary concern, especially when equipped with the picture-in-picture Consumer Awareness Monitor(TM), which provides background video in a corner of the screen for users to view activity occurring behind them while using the ATM. Its high security and weather-resistant applications, as well as its small footprint, make the 1075ix the ideal cash dispenser for ATM deployers that are active in placing ATMs in outdoor locations such as plazas, squares, parks and other locations where 24-hour access to cash is desirable.

“As the economics of off-premises ATM deployment continue to evolve, it’s increasingly important to provide our customers with a wide range of solutions to meet their demands,” said Thomas W. Swidarski, senior director, worldwide marketing at Diebold. “The new 1075ix exterior walk-up cash dispenser not only provides our customers with an innovative solution, but also features all of the revenue-generating opportunities found in Diebold’s popular ix Series(TM) ATMs including full-motion video capability, a large 15-inch color screen and the ability to dispense items other than cash.”

The 1075ix will be available worldwide during the second quarter of 1999 and will be on display in the Diebold Stand No. A07 in Hall 18, March 18-24 at CeBIT.

Diebold, Incorporated is the global leader in providing integrated delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, the company employs more than 6,000 employees in some 120 locations worldwide with headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenues 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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Online Lending Prognosis

Forrester Research released a new report yesterday that estimates consumers will obtain 8.9 million loans and credit cards over the Internet by 2003, representing more than $167 billion in receivables. Forrester says the explosion in on-line lending will be led by mortgages and credit cards. The researcher projects virtually every credit card issuer will be using the Web as a customer acquisition channel by the end of this year. In five years, one out of every six credit cards issued will be obtained on-line and Net-sourced credit card lines will approach $22 billion. More than 80% of the lending institutions interviewed indicated that they will offer on-line credit applications by early next year and more than 60% will approve or deny applications on-line before the end of the year.

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MAS Card

Houston-based Rockport Healthcare Group, Inc. confirmed plans Friday for the regional launching of their medical access savings card April 1. Rockport Preferred, Inc., a subsidiary, will introduce a basic card and an expanded benefits card in the Texas market under the card name, ‘MAS’ and ‘MAS Plus’. The company said it chose the name “MAS” since it is Spanish for ‘more’ and also because it defines the card’s purpose as ‘Medical Access Savings’. The card will provide members with up to 30% reduction on service fees. The basic card sells for $120 per year per household and provides discounts on prescriptions, vision, dental, hearing and chiropractic as well as access to a nurse for information and assistance service. The ‘MAS Plus’ card sells for $180 per year per household and provides additional access to physicians. The company says nationwide, more than half of the doctors in the country and 40,000 retail pharmacies are participating in the program. The card will also be marketed as ‘Passport’ and ‘PassPort Plus’ and can be named and tailored for employer groups and associations under a private label.

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FX Web Dealing

CIBC makes foreign exchange transactions for small and mid-sized businesses as easy as a few mouse clicks with the launch of CIBC FX Web Dealing. Through this Internet-based product, business clients can get live quotes, transfer funds between accounts, purchase a draft, send a wire transfer or obtain transaction history, instantaneously and securely from their desktop.

CIBC FX Web Dealing is a leading edge, real-time, Internet-based application for small and mid-size companies that transact a minimum of $100,000 in foreign currency conversions each year. Now, these business clients can conduct their foreign-exchange transactions at their convenience.

“CIBC recognizes that time is a valuable commodity to Canadian small and mid-size businesses. With the increase in global trade and the advance of e-Commerce, we wanted to provide our clients with the ability to conduct their foreign exchange conversions in a quick, secure, and efficient manner,” explains Craig Ellis, managing director of North American Foreign Exchange Sales for CIBC World Markets. “Building on the strength and the security of CIBC’s network, we employed the latest Internet-encryption technology by partnering with Zero Base Development Inc. of Montreal to deliver this innovative and exciting solution to our clients.”

Information about CIBC’s Foreign Exchange Web Dealing is available on the Internet at [www.fxdealing.cibc.com][1].

CIBC is one of North America’s leading financial institutions. It offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking networks, branches and offices across Canada and around the world. Zero Base Development Inc. designs supports and markets its own treasury Foreign Exchange and Fixed Income applications from offices in Montreal and Bangkok, Thailand.

[1]: http://www.fxdealing.cibc.com

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eCHARGE E-Billing

eCHARGE Corporation, a leader in electronic commerce billing systems, and Encore Multi Media, developers and resellers of consumer self-help software, announced the availability of the eCHARGE billing system on the Direct Credit.com web site last week. Billing the download cost to the consumer’s local phone bill is an alternative to credit card payments and increases access to this self-help software. The alliance between the two companies ensures that the ease of electronic commerce is extended to every online consumer.

“Partnering with eCHARGE gives small and medium-sized businesses a low-cost option for extending the reach of their online stores,” comments Dennis J. Smith, President and CEO of Encore Multi Media. “A segment of our target market includes people who may have erroneous credit history, and eCHARGE offers them an easy way to pay for this corrective software without using a credit card.”

“eCHARGE strives to give every person online the ability to shop in the growing e-commerce marketplace,” comments Erica Beyer, VP of Marketing for eCHARGE. “By offering eCHARGE, online retailers such as Direct Credit.com are leading the way to safer and easier methods of payment for their customers.”

About Encore Multi Media

Encore Multi Media develops and resells consumer self-help software. These innovative programs assist consumers in resolving their personal credit reports by communicating with the three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Encore MultiMedia’s flagship software program, Direct Credit.Com, provides a central source of information for consumers with credit-related issues. With over 50% of all credit reports in the US containing mistakes, Direct Credit.Com brings together the necessary components to restore credit ratings. For more information, visit About eCHARGE Corporation

Founded in 1996 and based in Seattle, WA and Vancouver, B.C., eCHARGE Corporation is a leading provider of transaction processing systems on the Internet. eCHARGE is an Internet payment technology that enables consumers to charge digital goods and services to their phone bills in one seamless and secure transaction. eCHARGE offers payment solutions to Internet merchants worldwide in the ISP, ESD, subscription, information download, online games, and donations categories. For more information, visit or call 1-800-766-4677.

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Skewed Scoring

A major controversy is brewing in the U.S. card industry since one of the nation’s top five issuers decided to stop reporting credit limit and/or high balance information to the leading consumer credit reporting firms. The bank credit card issuer currently reports only payment history and current balance data. The unilateral move has turn competitors’ scorecards upside down. Most U.S issuers rely on credit utilization as a key measure of risk. By design, credit scoring will show a 100% credit utilization if no credit limit information is given. As a result, a large number of applicants for competing card products are automatically being denied. The action has been particularly frustrating to mid-level players. The absence of high balance information may also impact fraud prevention. Many issuers look for any history of balance boosting, whereby a cardholder exceeds the credit limit by 50% or more. The issuer’s decision to limit cardholder data was apparently made in response to claims that credit bureaus were, upon special request, providing targeted, key data on the issuer’s cardholders to its competitors. Sources indicate the controversy has led to on-going and very high level discussions between the issuer and the credit bureaus. As of this morning no resolution has been reached.

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Norway’s Mobile Banking Pilot

Ericsson and Telenor Mobil have created a solution for offering wireless phone users simple and user-friendly services for mobile e-commerce. The first service to be launched makes it possible to buy cinema tickets, using a mobile phone as the e-commerce terminal, with the cost charged directly to a credit card, bank account or an e-commerce account. The solution can be easily adapted to the purchase of a variety of other services and products.

In April, mobile phone users in Norway will test the solution. The ticket service gives the user a menu on the mobile phone display, showing information about movies that are being shown. The user orders and pays for tickets, receives a confirmation number for the purchase, and can arrive at the cinema at show time to pick up the tickets, which have already been paid. For cinemas, ticket sales are more efficient, and moviegoers do not have to arrive early to claim bookings.

To make use of this service – and others to be developed – users will be equipped with a new GSM mobile phone that supports the SIM application toolkit feature and Telenor Mobil’s SIM card. A new type of SIM card, with extended memory and security features, makes it possible to present a user-friendly menu in the display. Most of the new mobile phones being launched this year will support this functionality. The solution is open for evolution into the new Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) standard. The SIM-card and the GSM technology make it possible to include a payment solution that enables secure transfer of money.

The service offers three alternatives for payment: credit card, bank account, or an e-commerce account. All necessary information about a card or account is registered and linked to a GSM subscription. Payment is handled by the service, which takes care of transferring money from the user’s bank or credit institution. This means that the mobile phone can be used as a “wallet,” complete with credit card, bankcard and/or cash. Users are ensured high security, because sensitive financial information isn’t sent via the phone.

Ericsson and Telenor Mobil are co-operating with Filmweb, a company that is a content provider on behalf of the Norwegian film and cinema business. Filmweb is responsible for the integration of this service into the cinemas’ ordinary ticket systems. For more information about Telenor, please see

Ericsson is the leading provider in the new telecoms world, with communications solutions that combine telecom and datacom technologies with freedom of mobility for the user. With more than 100,000 employees in 140 countries, Ericsson simplifies communications for its customers – network operators, service providers, enterprises and consumers – the world over.

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Double Points

American Express said Friday that, starting next month, Regal Hotels International will begin awarding double ‘Membership Rewards’ points to American Express cardholders enrolled in the ‘Membership Rewards’ program. To earn double points, cardholders must spend $75 or more on their eligible, enrolled American Express Card for stays at Regal from April 1 through December 31, 1999. A maximum of 1,000 ‘Membership Rewards’ points will be awarded with each Regal stay.

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ATTM Card

San Francisco-based GS Telecom, Ltd., will announce this week the ‘ATTM Universal Card’, the first-ever anonymous currency card that 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. In addition to Internet transactions, the ‘ATTM Card’ will provide secure, anonymous, low-cost transfer of funds around the world. The company says this will be the first truly-global currency, for international travelers, Internet users, and retail consumers, worldwide. GS said Friday it will unveil other applications of the card this week including significant developments in affinity programs and transaction-usage revenue sharing programs. GS says it has made a closely-held technology breakthrough with the cooperation of its strategic partners, namely, Zebec, a division of Southwestern Bell, and Chase Manhattan.

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British Rate Battle

Card rate competition is entering another round in the UK as Capital One introduced, last week, a fixed, long-term interest of 11.9% to new customers. Like the USA, the UK market has recently been flooded with short-term promotional interest rates. However, in the USA, Capital One and First USA have led the successful charge to offer fixed, long-term interest rates of 9.90% and 9.99% respectively. In the UK, USA-based People’s Bank (CT), Advanta and Capital One have been aggressively pitching six-month teaser rates of 6.9%. According to London’s Financial Times, the marketing strategies of the USA banks has forced market leaders Barclaycard, NatWest, Lloyds TSB and Midland to cut rates and drop fees.

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