iChargeit Goes WINR

Para-Link, a Texas corporation who recently announced an agreement in principle to merge with iChargeit Inc., Friday announced that iChargeit has signed an exclusive two year agreement with Winners Internet Network to build and maintain a series of Global Shopping Malls utilizing the WINR credit card processing and proprietary currency conversion software.

This partnership with WINR, empowered by Netgateway, will enable iChargeit Inc. to reproduce the iChargeit.com and Cyberswapmeet.com cybermall sites thoroughly translated and priced in the targeted country’s language and monetary system.

Coupling these features with WINR’s powerful global currency conversion features and the anticipated mass appeal of the iChargeit sites should allow the Company to meet their goal of opening 1,000 e-storefronts during the life of their previously announced agreement with Netgateway.

Jesse Cohen, CEO of iChargeit, stated, “This agreement with a fine-tuned organization like WINR represents a significant milestone in the Company’s development and in making global shopping a simple and cost-effective process. iChargeit and WINR have already identified several key areas for potential joint ventures which are presently being explored.”

“Our software was developed for diversified applications. This venture opens the “global door” for the utilization of our proprietary software products and furthers WINR’s reach into Internet shopping,” concluded David C. Skinner, Jr., CEO of WINR.

iChargeit Inc. is an Internet based company whose iChargeit.com Cybermall and Virtual Arcade, as well as the iChargeit Cyberswapmeet.com web sites, are set to launch March 1,1999. iChargeit Inc.’s key partners and anchor tenants include, but are not limited to, Preferred Voice International (OTC BB:PFVI), Winners Internet Network (OTC BB:WINR), Internet Media Corp. (OTC BB:USRF), Innovative Holdings and Technologies Ltd. (OTC BB:IHTL) and Pacific Medical Group (OTC BB:PMGI).

iChargeit has several key agreements in place with Netgateway which utilize Netgateway’s talented and diverse staff of programmers and web site designers to incorporate many of the unique features of Netgateway’s ICC (Internet Commerce Center) into iChargeit’s web sites and product lines.

Statements made in this news release that relate to future plans, financial results, market growth, or other projections, events or anticipated results are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E o the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Actual results may differ materially due to a variety of factors, including competitors with more resources available to them.

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Got Sold

GetSmart.com got sold yesterday to Providian Financial for $33 million in cash. GetSmart.com is a free, on-line marketplace for home loans, personal loans, credit cards, student loans and auto leases. The company offers loan products, via performance-based contracts, from more than 100 lenders. GetSmart’s revenues are derived from approved applications it produces. While the company promoted itself as a source of objective and unbiased loan info, the firm simply refers visitors to loans products offered by its participants. GetSmart.com offers no educational content. The company says it attracted eight million visitors last year producing nearly 450,000 completed applications. GetSmart’s traffic was generated from paid banner ads on so-called portal sites such as Yahoo!, Lycos, Wired Digital, InfoSeek, DoubleClick and CBS MarketWatch. The two-year old company spent $13 million for banner ads during 1998. GetSmart.com was founded by a group of executives from Wells Fargo and ex-McKinsey partners from the Mitchell Madison Group. Former Wells Fargo executive Bill Fisher lead the group and served as CEO. Capital partners included Reuters, Goldman Sachs, Robertson Stephens and technology investor Roger McNamee. Fisher indicated yesterday he is leaving the firm after the buyout, which is expected to close by March 1.

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ARKSYS Honduras

ARKSYS announced an agreement with Banco Atlantida of Tegucigalpa, Honduras to provide its Integrated Transaction Management solution to manage the bank’s network of ATMs, its database of debit cards, and an online EFT connection to the Visa/Plus international network.

Banco Atlantida, established in 1912, is one of the largest banks in Central America. Banco Atlantida sought to increase its base of ATM machines and grow their card base. ARKSYS provided its products of Gold-Net and ATM device drivers to interface with the bank’s core banking software supplied by DATAPRO Inc., the largest provider of AS 400 core banking software in Latin America. ARKSYS’ Gold-Net will enable Banco Atlantida’s subsidiaries to issue cards and authorize transactions on their own host computers, streamlining their operating costs. Gold-Net will provide Banco Atlantida with increased credit card management performance, enabling the bank to offer additional services to individuals, merchants and other financial institutions.

According to Mr. Francisco Zelaya, General Manager of Infatlan, the Information Services company owned by the bank, “We were looking for a vendor with a strong presence in the region which could offer us a very functional ATM management solution. Also, we needed a vendor that could provide us the capability to introduce new products and services in the future. We chose ARKSYS for these reasons.”

Banco Agricola Comercial of El Salvador, along with Credomatic of Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Guatemala are among the growing list of Central American clients for ARKSYS.

Founded in 1975, ARKSYS, located in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a premier provider of effective payment and financial transaction delivery systems, including card systems, payment systems and operations solutions. ARKSYS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Euronet Services Inc. (Nasdaq: EEFT).

For more information contact Tom Kleinsorge, Manager of Marketing, Voice 501-218-7188 (USA)/ Fax 501-218-7302 (USA)/ E-mail tkleinsorge@arksys.com or by mail at 17500 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, AR USA 72211. ARKSYS’ home page address is . You may also contact Nicholas Valls, Vice-President of Marketing at DATAPRO Inc. at Voice 305-374-0606/Fax 305-377-3282.

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PayPoint Gift Cards

PayPoint Launches Prepaid Gift Card Program

PayPoint Electronic Payment Systems, Inc. has introduced three innovative gift card programs to retail merchants this past holiday season.

Merchants currently issuing proprietary gift cards under this program include CEC Entertainment, Inc., Operator of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants headquartered in Irving, Texas.

The PayPoint Prepaid Gift Card is a magnetic stripe stored-value card that is processed electronically at a retailer’s point-of-sale for consumer purchases of products and services. The prepaid gift card allows merchants to eliminate the costly and administratively cumbersome practice of issuing paper-based gift certificates with easy-to-use and process magnetic stripe plastic cards.

The gift cards are being sold in various denominations including $15, $25, $50, and $100. Under the program, consumers will be able to purchase gift cards at participating retailers as gifts for holidays, birthdays, special occasions, incentives for contributions.

‘We selected the PayPoint Prepaid Gift Card because we felt that this innovative product could drive incremental sales and greatly enhance security over our current paper-based gift certificate program. This product has greatly exceeded our expectations. Since launching the gift card in December 1998, our same-store gift certificate sales have dramatically increased over last year,’ stated T. J. Schier of CEC Entertainment.

‘PayPoint is pleased to offer these merchants our Prepaid Gift Card product. This product is the latest in innovative payment offerings that PayPoint has developed for our customers. We are confident that this innovative Prepaid Gift Card product will help our merchants lower their current paper-based gift certificate program costs as well as provide their customers with an innovative and timely gift or inventive,’ said Fred Coblentz, Vice President of Sales at PayPoint.

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FUSA Signs Consumer Financial Network

Consumer Financial Network, Inc. announced Thursday it has joined forces with First USA to offer corporate employees a high-quality credit card product with a competitive interest rate, backed with superior customer service and benefits.

CFN is a sophisticated e-commerce platform for marketing financial services and employee benefits over corporate intranets and the Internet, as well as through a telesales center.

According to Lisa Peddy, executive vice president of CFN, “First USA chose us as their partner because they value the exciting distribution channel being developed by CFN,” said Peddy. “In turn, we believe First USA is positioned to become a significant player in the credit card e-commerce marketplace and that Bank One – First USA’s parent company – is a primary distributor of new products geared toward employees in the workplace. We’re eager to take advantage of the opportunity to assist First USA in bringing a valuable and meaningful service to corporate employees.”

Peddy added that CFN’s alliance with First USA also provides added online capabilities. Eligible card members may apply for the First USA Platinum Visa Card through CFN’s secure Internet site, while First USA provides the option of servicing through the Internet. “Employees will enjoy a credit card product that may afford them increased purchasing power and financial flexibility, coupled with the privileges and protections for which First USA is well known,” said Peddy.

“First USA is extremely excited about our new partnership with CFN and the opportunities that it presents to us and CFN member employees,” said James Grant, senior vice president, marketing, First USA. “First USA strives to provide consumers the absolute best credit card product available. Through CFN we are able to reach and deliver quality credit card services through the worksite to consumers actively seeking the best products in the marketplace today.”

The First USA Platinum Visa card features a low introductory rate for five months, followed by a competitive annual percentage rate on purchases and balance transfers. Additional features include money-saving balance transfers and exclusive employee discount buying services, among others.

First USA ([www.firstusa.com][1]), a subsidiary of BANK ONE CORPORATION, is the largest Visa and MasterCard lender in the nation. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names, and on behalf of over 1,500 marketing partners.

CFN has contracted with competing providers of financial services and employee benefits to create a platform for the comparison shopping and purchase of these services. CFN is provided at no cost to large companies and associations (typically 5,000 or more employees) for distribution as a human resource benefit to their employees or members.

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

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Media Advisor

MasterCard’s Transactional Data Solutions company announced the official launch of its ‘Media Advisor’ service Thursday. ‘Media Advisor’ is a marketing tool aimed at advertising agencies and media companies that provides competitive intelligence on consumer spending behavior. TDS was formed as a joint venture between MasterCard and Symmetrical Resources, Inc.. ‘Media Advisor’ is built on aggregate MasterCard transactional data and survey response data gathered through the Simmons National Consumer Survey. The transactional research collects anonymous information from previously conducted transactions to aggregate buying behaviors based on demographics, lifestyle and media preferences.

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decisioning.com, inc

Affinity Technology Group, Inc. announced Thursday the formation of decisioning.com, inc., a new subsidiary that will deliver outsourced Internet loan decisioning services and license Internet users of Affinity’s patented technology.

“On-line loan application volume is exploding, but most applicants are frustrated by the lack of an immediate response,” said Murray Smith, Affinity’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “With our new service, applicants will get on-line decisions – a clear competitive advantage for lenders in the growing e-commerce channel.”

Real Time Decisioning Service

decisioning.com’s real time decisioning service, “RTDS,” is an outsourced service enabling lenders to deliver decisions to web applicants when they apply. RTDS decisions are based on the specific credit policy of each lending institution using the service. When decisioning.com receives an application from a web site, RTDS accesses the applicant’s credit report, calculates a credit score, calculates other financial ratios, and applies the institution’s decision rules, returning an automated decision in about two minutes.

RTDS will be available for decisioning unsecured loans and lines of credit within the next several weeks. Extension of the service to cover home equity and automobile loans will follow.

Information on RTDS is available over the Internet at [www.decisioning.com][1].

decisioning.com Subsidiary Assigned Affinity Patent Rights for Internet

The granting of Patent No. 5,870,721 on February 9, 1999, gives Affinity an ownership claim on systems and methods for loan processing that include the entry of data by applicants from a remote location (such as the Internet or an Automated Loan Machine); access to databases for information on the applicants’ creditworthiness; automated decisioning to approve, reject, or possibly refer applications to a human underwriter; and real-time responses back to the applicants.

In order to increase the financial potential of the recently issued patent and to market RTDS, Affinity has organized a wholly owned subsidiary, decisioning.com, inc. Affinity will assign to decisioning.com the exclusive right to exploit the patented technology on the Internet, including the right to sub-license the technology. Affinity will retain the right to the patented technology for use with kiosks such as its Automated Loan Machine.

decisioning.com will direct its marketing of RTDS toward financial institutions and financially oriented Internet sites. decisioning.com will also license companies who choose not to purchase RTDS, but who will require a license under the Affinity patent to continue to operate.

The recently issued patent is one in a family of patent applications filed by the Company. Additional pending patent applications would extend the Company’s proprietary position in the United States and include an extensive portfolio of foreign counterpart applications in most major financial capitals of the world.

Affinity’s technology enables financial institutions to link their dealers, branches, call centers, and Internet customers electronically to their credit departments, providing fully automated lending – and, if necessary, connectivity to a loan officer – through every channel. For financial institutions, Affinity’s solutions expedite loan decisioning and processing and increase productivity and capacity of branch personnel, call center agents, loan officers, and indirect agents, while improving the overall customer experience. Affinity is located on the World Wide Web at [www.affi.net][2].

Forward-looking statements in this news release, including statements regarding the coverage of any patents that have been or may be issued to the Company and the projected use of the Internet to process financial services transactions and auto loans, are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including those related to the proprietary and other rights of third parties who may challenge the Company’s patents, delays and risks associated with the development of new technologies, consumer and industry acceptance of automated delivery channels, regulatory risks, and general economic conditions, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Further, although the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for certain claims covered by one of the Company’s patent applications, such action is subject to challenge by third parties, and no assurance can be given that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will issue additional patents to the Company, or that any such patents will have any commercial value.

[1]: http://www.decisioning.com
[2]: http://www.affi.net

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Home Banking’s Killer App

According to a new study by Killen and Associates, providing the consumer with ways to easily make payments for repetitive bills such as utilities, credit cards, and insurance and real estate-based premiums is the key to robust growth in home banking.

By YE2000, the banks’ revenue streams attributable to Internet-based billing, payment, and related financial services will reach nearly $50 billion, growing to more than $155 billion by 2005.

“Everyone is looking for the key driver that will provide the explosive growth in home banking,” stated Michael Killen, president of the research firm. “Internet Payments is the answer: It is a win-win-win situation for the consumer, the bank, and the biller. The consumer saves time; the bank enters the age of electronic commerce, reduces costs, and retains customers; the biller receives a cleaner, more reliable payment stream, lowers costs, and also enters the age of the Internet.”

“In the next two years retail banks must offer Internet payments if they want to have a chance to provide services to the growing multitude of Internet customers,” says Jules Street, VP, financial services.

The report states that retail customers will switch banks, if necessary, to obtain the payment services they demand.

The study forecasts the Internet payment market on a worldwide basis. It reports on how Barclays Bank (BCB), Chase Credit Card (CMB), NatWest (UK), First Union (FTU), Wells Fargo (WFC), and other banks are pursuing Internet billing and payment opportunities.

Killen & Associates’ study, Consumer and Wholesale Banks: Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment Opportunities and Threats, is the second in a set of three focused on the EBPP marketplace. This volume provides insights that wholesale and retail banks can use to leverage this major change in the business model.

It also alerts financial institutions, IT providers, and billers about the strategies of major players including American Express (AXP), Banc One (ONE), GTE (GTE), First Union, and Wells Fargo. Detailed worldwide and regional forecasts of the marketplace for EBPP service revenues are included as well as insights contained in personal interviews with industry executives.

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MAC 1998

Electronic Payment Services reports its MAC EFT network, processed 1.491 billion switch transactions in 1998, an 18.3% increase over 1997. Other 1998 stats: 146.7 million POS transactions, an annual increase of 26.5%; the addition of 185 new financial institution members last year; more than 80 merchants and retail ATM deployers signed with MAC in 1998. Money Access Service, which operates MAC, currently drives 33,500 ATMs, over half of which are dial-up ATMs located primarily in retail and other remote locations and, as of year-end 1998, there were 42,500 ATMs and over 40 million cards in the MAC network.

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2000 Celebration

MasterCard International and Preview Travel teamed up to create MasterCard’s ‘Millennium Celebration’ contest yesterday. The promotion will award eight winners and their guests with a trip to the Chateau de Courcelles in the Champagne region of France. The Grand Prize winner and a guest will fly to France on the Concorde. One winner will be selected monthly to spend New Year’s Eve 1999 with a guest at the Chateau in France. The Grand Prize will be awarded on Sep. 24, 1999. Customers who purchase air tickets with their MasterCard will be automatically entered. Consumers can also enter to win and find complete details at Preview Travel’s Web site. Consumer details of the program will also be available via CardWeb’s main consumer information channel, CardTrak (cardtrak.com). Last year, MasterCard and Preview Travel announced a marketing alliance in which MasterCard became a premier advertiser and the exclusive payment sponsor of the Preview ‘Travel Business Travel Center’.

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GTS Phone Cards

NJ-based Global Telecommunication Solutions said Thursday that the new GTS phone card is now being sold in more than 1000 convenience stores across the country, including Sunoco Mid/America, DB Mart, Stop’N Go, Heritage Dairy, KwikFill/Red Apple and Shipley Stores. GTS says for the convenience store industry this category has accounted for more than $600 million annualized. The GTS phone card is one of the most attractive consumer phone card deals featuring no expiration date and six digit PIN codes for easy access.

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FUSA Signs Virtual Technology Corp.

Virtual Technology Corp. announced Thursday a multi-year marketing and advertising agreement with First USA.

The agreement makes First USA the exclusive marketer of credit card products throughout the VTC Internet properties, which include [www.virtual-world.com][1] and [www.vtcoauctions.com][2].

As part of this agreement First USA will offer a VTC co-branded credit card which consumers will be able to apply for on-line via VTC’s Internet sites. The co-branded “Virtual” card carries no-annual fee, and a low introductory rate followed by a competitive annual percentage rate on purchases and balance transfers.

Consumers submit an application on-line and receive instant credit approval notification for those who qualify. Other features include: co-branded card reward points, money saving balance transfers from another card, 24 hour on-line statement access, and an on-line shopping guarantee against unauthorized charges.

Greg Appelhof, president and chief executive officer of Virtual Technology Corp., said: “First USA is both a leader and an innovator in the credit card field and has been in the forefront of recognizing the potential of the online medium. We are committed to making the on-line shopping experience an enhancement to people’s lives. First USA enables VTC to make consumers everyday lives easier by providing them with the credit card resources they need all in one place in addition to the benefits and convenience that the online medium delivers.”

“Our relationship with VTC presents an exciting opportunity for First USA to continue to take advantage of the power of the Internet as a highly effective marketing channel,” said Kurt Campisano, senior vice president, Internet marketing, First USA.

ABOUT FIRST USA

First USA ([www.firstusa.com][3]), a subsidiary of BANK ONE CORPORATION, is the nation’s largest Visa and MasterCard lender. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of more than 1,500 marketing partners.

ABOUT VIRTUAL TECHNOLOGY CORP. Virtual Technology Corp. is a publicly held Minnesota based company with offices in Minneapolis. VTC is an E-Commerce Internet retailer of high performance computer hardware, and with its recent acquisition of Graphics Technologies Inc. (GTI), is also a leading specialty distributor of premium computer and graphics products, software and peripheral products to sophisticated computer users.

Through its E-Comm Web site at www.virtual-world.com, the company offers more than 42,000 units of selective high-performance, brand name computer equipment. Such Web site and its contents are expressly not incorporated by reference into this press release.

VTC offers an online specialized store that is intended to provide one-stop shopping for its targeted domestic and international customers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The company’s online store features a fun, easy to navigate interface, competitive pricing, extensive product information and powerful search capabilities.

In January 1999, VTC acquired substantially all of the assets of Graphics Technologies Inc., a 12-year old company with seven offices nationally and 1998 net sales of $65 million. GTI specializes in the wholesale distribution of high-end premium computers and graphics products such as notebooks, scanners, graphics cards, monitors and other peripherals.

Some of GTI’s vendor relationships are with companies such as Viewsonic, Matrox, Hitachi, Phillips, Okidata, Infocus and ATI. With a customer base of over 1,000 corporations, GTI specializes in business-to-business sales and offers unique purchase programs, solution-oriented sales, integration and configuration services and post-sales support.

GTI has been named as one of the top specialty distributors in Computer Reseller News’ Distributor Census 1998 and VAR Business’s Distributor 50 1998, two of the most prominent trade magazines in the computer wholesaling industry.

Statements in this Press Release that are not purely historical are “forward looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including statements regarding VTC’s expectations, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future generally, VTC’s growth strategy, future sales and anticipated trends in VTC’s business. All forward looking statements included in this Press Release are based on information known to VTC on the date hereof, and VTC assumes no obligation to update any such forward looking statements. It is important to note that actual results could differ materially from those in such forward looking statements as a result of a number of factors, most of which are out of the control of VTC, including, but not limited to, VTC’s early stage of development, its lack of profitability and cash flows and competition for the sale of hardware and software products both on and off the Internet.

[1]: http://www.virtual-world.com
[2]: http://www.vtcoauctions.com
[3]: http://www.firstusa.com

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