First Cross-Border ACH

First of Omaha Merchant Processing announced on September 15, 1998, an Automated Clearing House (ACH) cross- border transfer of corporate debit to Insight Direct’s bank account at Toronto Dominion, Canada.  This marks the one of the first transfers of this type via VisaNet’s ACH Cross-Border Service.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) services have been commonplace to the merchant processing industry.  However, the services have been generally limited to domestic markets.  Only recently, have cross-border ACH transfers been piloted.

“This is an important milestone for First of Omaha.  It is one where continental barriers are dissolving; allowing a financial synergy between two countries and two currencies,” stated Michael Phelan, senior vice president of business development, First of Omaha.  “Transferring funds in this manner results in increased savings to our clients, improves their cash flow and also provides alternatives to traditional treasury funding.”

First of Omaha Merchant Processing

First of Omaha Merchant Processing is a premier processor of domestic and international bankcard transactions for direct marketers, retailers, associations/franchise groups and banks.  Known for its superior customer service, First of Omaha specializes in providing the latest in card processing technology, including an interchange management system which helps clients receive one of the lowest effective interchange rates in the industry.  A wholly owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha, First of Omaha is one of the few remaining in-house bank processors.  First National Bank of Omaha, founded in 1863, is the 32nd oldest nationally chartered bank in existence.

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NDC Deal

National Data Corp. announced Monday that it has signed an agreement to provide a number of Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. stores with credit card processing services. Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. is the first and largest franchise system of retail stores catering to the backyard bird feeding hobbyist.  The company opened its first store in 1981 and it now has locations throughout North America.

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Yahoo! VISA Remodels

First USA and Yahoo! announced a new and improved ‘Yahoo! Platinum VISA’ last week. Apparently in response to NextCard’s success, the ‘Yahoo! VISA’ has cut its introductory rate and now offers a instant, online credit feature. The co-branded card now offers an introductory 3.9% rate for new cardmembers for the first five months. The card’s primary rate is a 9.99% fixed APR with no annual fee. The ‘Yahoo! VISA’ also offers an instant credit feature enabling applicants to immediately go shopping online. For existing cardholders as well as new members, the card program now offers e-mail bill payment option and a personal shopping assistant. In addition to having online access to their account and rewards program information 24-hours-a-day, cardmembers now have the ability to get paperless statements delivered directly through their e-mail address.

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Graham Goes to Natl City

National City Corporation announced Friday that Cynthia A. Graham has joined the company as executive vice president, Retail Sales and Distribution and will lead its database marketing and data warehousing efforts.

Graham, former president of Barnett Card Services Corporation in Jacksonville, FL, has a long history of successfully managing database marketing efforts in the consumer finance arena.  While at Barnett, Graham managed the company’s successful development of database marketing programs for credit cards.  Graham’s specialties include using database tools to analyze customer profitability and to conduct customer segmentation modeling to direct targeted marketing efforts.  She has held responsibility for business lines with $1.6 billion in outstanding receivables and managed database marketing efforts targeted at both customer households and non- customer prospects.

Graham will report directly to National City executive vice president James R. Bell III, who heads the company’s retail sales and distribution functions.

“After conducting a nation-wide search, we are very excited to find and hire someone of Cynthia’s caliber and are eager to see her put her skills and experience to work at the helm of our database marketing efforts,” Bell said. “Database marketing has become one of our most important and successful sales initiatives in recent years and it is crucial that we have a top-notch expert such as Cynthia to lead this program into future phases of development,” he added.

National City’s database marketing efforts have been in place for approximately three years and over the last two years have expanded to include data warehouse functions.  The programs use computer modeling of customer data to determine which National City products and services best suit any given customer’s needs at each point of their life cycle.  The programs maintain strict confidentiality of customer data, while enabling the company’s various business units to target specific customers for marketing efforts.

“I am extremely pleased to find and join a company that incorporates leading-edge technology into these sophisticated marketing strategies,” Graham said.  “I am a big believer that database marketing not only can produce excellent marketing results at lower costs, but at the same time can reduce the aggravation of inappropriate marketing efforts to customers who do not need or want particular bank products.  Clearly, database marketing is the way to bring the right product to the right customer at the right time.”

Profile of National City Corporation:

National City Corporation is an $83 billion bank holding company based in Cleveland, Ohio.  The company offers a full range of financial services, including investment banking, brokerage, insurance and traditional banking services, to individuals and businesses.  National City has offices in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois.  National City can be found on the World Wide Web at .

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Super Data

AR-based Acxiom Corp. announced the development of ‘InfoBase Profiler’ via the ‘Acxiom Data Network’. The program is due for release Apr. 1. ‘InfoBase Profiler’,  will be the first and only consumer data product that can take a consumer’s telephone number and/or name and address, and return demographic data. Leveraging the ‘Acxiom Data Network’, ‘InfoBase Profiler’ delivers a comprehensive census and household data profile and profile score in sub-second time. The program provides sub-second and express batch access to demographic data for integration with customer’s marketing and operations-level applications. ‘InfoBase Profiler’ also provides the option of using ‘InfoBase Lifestage Segmentation Codes’ (scores) or using InfoBase data to create or customize segmentation scores.  ‘InfoBase Lifestage Segmentation Codes’ is a segmentation system divided into 42 major life segments that can be further fine-tuned into 252 sub-segments.  Acxiom’s ‘InfoBase’ currently collects data from over 15 million major data sources and provides over 1.5 billion source records.  It contains demographic information on 95% of U.S. households.

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BankBoston Debit

BankBoston and First Data Resources signed a five year agreement Friday to provide off-line debit card processing for more than one million BankBoston debit accounts. First Data also provides credit card processing services for BankBoston through an agreement with Partners First Holdings, LLC., a credit card services company formed in January of this year by Bank of Montreal, Harris Bank, BankBoston, and First Annapolis.

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Euronet Finalizes ARKSYS Deal

Euronet Services Inc. announced Friday that it has successfully completed its acquisition of ARKSYS for approximately $18.2 million in cash, effective Dec. 2.

ARKSYS, based in Little Rock, Ark., produces computer software for comprehensive electronic payment and transaction delivery systems.     In the transaction, Euronet acquired 100% of the shares of ARKSYS but not the real estate holdings of ARKSYS. ARKSYS had approximately $3.9 million in working capital available for operations at Oct. 31, 1998. ARKSYS has merged with a Euronet subsidiary and will continue to operate as a distinct, wholly owned subsidiary of Euronet.

More information about Euronet’s acquisition of ARKSYS is available in a Euronet news release of Nov. 4, 1998.

Established in 1994, Euronet operates the only independent, non-bank owned ATM network in Central Europe. Through agreements with local banks and international card issuers such as Visa, MasterCard, Europay, American Express and Diners Club International, Euronet’s ATMs are able to process ATM transactions for holders of credit and debit cards issued by or bearing logos of such banks and card issuing organizations.

In addition, Euronet offers outsourced ATM management and card issuance services to local banks with proprietary ATMs.

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CardService Goes Wireless

Cardservice International announced Friday that it has begun offering the Wireless Express Payment Service to existing and potential merchant customers.

Beginning in late November after a brief training period, CSI equipped its 2,200 person national sales force to offer these services as a way for merchants requiring faster, mobile, or in some cases less expensive ways of accepting card payments.

CSI is a large independent processor of card, electronic, and Internet payment transactions, and is 50% owned by First Data Corp. The Wireless Express Payment Service(SM)(WEPS(SM)) is a proprietary service provided by U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. (USWD).

To start the sales program, CSI has purchased from USWD 100 POS-500 point-of-sale terminals and 250 WEPS(SM) Enabler devices. The POS-500 is a stand-alone point-of-sale terminal with integrated card reader, printer, and wireless modem. The WEPS Enabler is an add-on device that converts a merchant’s existing POS terminal from using a land line to wireless transmission.

Beginning early next year, CSI will sell a wireless version of its proprietary terminal — the LinkPoint 3000. All of these devices, including the wireless LinkPoint terminal will incorporate the USWD500 CDPD modem, designed specifically for processing payment transactions over wireless networks.

The Wireless Express Payment Service(SM) is a comprehensive and integrated set of equipment, wireless network, and server technology designed to securely deliver and efficiently transmit payment transactions from merchants to payment processors. WEPS(SM) utilizes the USWD500 CDPD modem integrated into a variety of merchant terminal devices.

It includes encryption and online diagnostic techniques. It uses the Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) networks of several carriers. And, it includes a transaction processing server to reformat transactions and simplify the connections between wireless facilities and processors’ existing front-end systems.

From a merchant perspective, the Wireless Express Payment Service(SM) provides faster transaction authorization, averaging three seconds versus the 12 to 15 seconds using dial-up facilities. It eliminates the need and cost of a separate telephone line for the payment terminal. And, like cellular telephones, it provides mobility since there is no need to be connected to a land-based line.

Chuck Burtzloff, chief executive officer and 50% owner of CSI, commented, “We’ve already begun to see results from the selling efforts. Some of our more successful sales agents are discovering they can differentiate their services and compete on terms of value instead of cost. They especially like the fact that once a sale is made, they don’t have to wait for a phone line to be installed to start the service.”

Commenting on the sales rollout, USWD chairman and CEO, Roger Peirce stated, “CSI has a history of innovation in bringing new technologies to the payments business. Getting the entire CSI sales force mobilized behind the Wireless Express Payment Service(SM) is a validation of its value in the market.”

Cardservice International is one of the fastest-growing transaction processing companies in the United States. With 200 sales offices, and in excess of 2,200 sales representatives nationwide, CSI offers a complete range of traditional and Internet consumer payment options. CSI has a rapidly growing customer base of over 110,000 merchants, processing an annual bankcard volume in excess of $6 billion dollars.

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. is the leader in applying wireless technology to the payments industry. Through the use of its proprietary technology, software, and carrier relationships, USWD enables existing payment processors to provide their customers with the fastest and most cost-effective transaction processing solutions.

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Deluxe Online

Deluxe Data International launched a range of new internet banking products Friday. The new products are: Deluxe Internet Financial Management for Home, Deluxe IFM for Business, and Deluxe IFM for Corporate. Deluxe Internet Financial Management for Home allows retail banking customers to access their bank accounts from home, over the internet, via their PC or perhaps soon on digital television. Deluxe Internet Financial Management for Business meets the internet requirements of small to medium sized businesses who require more than basic account information and transaction facilities. Deluxe Internet Financial Management for Corporate addresses the requirements of financial institutions serving a high-value, sophisticated corporate customer base.

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Paperless IRS

The Internal Revenue Service last week unveiled a sweeping plan to move its electronic tax programs forward. Among 45 initiatives, the IRS cited two pilots will allow taxpayers to file Form 1040 returns electronically and pay any taxes using a credit card.  Two other pilots will permit the use of a PIN as the taxpayer’s signature, thus eliminating the need to file a paper signature. The IRS envisions the future where taxpayers and authorized tax practitioners will not only be able to file and pay taxes electronically, but also retrieve copies of returns, pay taxes, receive help and inquire on their account status, all electronically and from the privacy of their homes or businesses. By the year 2007, IRS wants to do business electronically with 80% of  U.S. taxpayers and for taxable years beginning after 2001, IRS wants all returns that are prepared electronically to be filed electronically.

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Gemplus CTST West

Gemplus Friday announced that the company will be demonstrating a variety of smart card software solutions at CardTech/SecurTech West (CTST West) at the San Jose Convention Center, in San Jose, Ca., December 8-9, 1998.

Gemplus software to be demonstrate at the show includes:

Loyalty

In the highly competitive retail world, smart card solutions provide a way for businesses to increase their revenues and profits, differentiate themselves from the competition, and maximize their marketing expenditures.

This demonstration will show how to set up smart card-based loyalty clubs and programs; how to develop rules for them; and will simulate a point-of-sale transaction that awards loyalty points to a customer, transfers that information to a database, and then generates all needed reports.

Network Security

GemSAFE is Gemplus’ smart card-based solution for securing network services. It is designed for companies seeking to secure Internet-based services or corporate intranets and extranets, and for individuals who want to protect the digital exchange of information. It offers the highest level of transaction security by storing a user’s digital identity on a smart card.

At CTST West, attendees will learn how the GemSAFE smart card can be used with the Microsoft Windows NT-based public key infrastructure (PKI). Specific technologies demonstrated will include Web authentication, using the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser and the Microsoft Internet Information Server, secure email with Outlook and Exchange, Kerberos smart card logon, virtual private networking through the point-to-point tunneling protocol, and an encrypted file system.

Developer Tools

GemXpresso RAD(TM) (Rapid Applet Development) is a smart card development platform based on Java Card 2.0 and 32-bit RISC processing. GemXpresso RAD enables developers to quickly bring smart card-based electronic commerce, transportation, banking and other applications to market.

This demonstration will show the rapid development of smart card-based applications using the Java(TM) Card 2.0 API and a 32-bit RISC processor.

About Gemplus

Gemplus(R) () is the world’s leading provider of conventional and smart card-based solutions. Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.

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E-Prospecting

In a joint announcement, two of the world’s largest and most respected data providers, Experian and The Polk Company, said they have joined with MySoftware Company, Inc.to help launch the first e-prospecting service to provide small and medium-sized businesses with up to 125 million qualified new customer leads. MyProspects.com targets the estimated $1.1 billion e-prospecting market by offering users affordable, real-time, targeted contact lists.  Beginning today, the service is available on the Internet at .

Experian will provide 13 million business listings and Polk will provide 112 million household listings to form the backbone of MyProspects.com. Experian and Polk have also agreed to recommend a private label version of MySoftware’s Internet solution to their corporate accounts and to work with MySoftware in future business development partnerships and joint ventures.

“MyProspects.com offers an e-commerce solution that makes great business sense,” said Gregory Slayton, president and CEO of MySoftware Company.  “With an Internet delivery model and the highest quality data providers in the world, MyProspects.com makes it easy for small and medium-sized businesses to solve their number one problem: finding new customers.  Users can easily select the demographic and geographic criteria that match their target customer base, select the quantities they want, and obtain the data immediately.  And since the site offers a number of value added services and consulting advice, we expect to build an online relationship with each customer.  It’s a low cost, low labor, low overhead and highly personalized service.”

“Until now, the economics and logistics of servicing small-scale orders have made it difficult for large data providers like Polk to meet the needs of small businesses,” said John Healy, Senior Vice President of Direct Marketing for Polk.  “MySoftware Company has developed a smart solution to this challenge by enabling users to access and purchase data provided from Polk’s extensive database of 112 million household listings.”

“The architecture of the site is extremely powerful,” said Alan Rudi, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Experian.  “MyProspects.com lets users drill through Experian’s tremendously rich and complex business data with great ease.  A simple selection process takes them from a universe of every business in the country to precisely the geographic, industry and business profile they need.”

MySoftware Company will make the service available through [http://www.MyProspects.com][1] as well as other affiliated Web sites hosted by corporate partners.  “This is the first Web-based service  in what we believe is a huge data-on-demand market,” said Mr. Slayton.  “Our intent is to be a significant player in that market.”

Business data provided by Experian is searchable by geographic region, Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes, or by keywords. Users can also choose business listings based on sales volume, number of employees, business type, and number of years in business.

Consumer data provided by Polk is searchable by a set of 26 pre-defined niches — grouped according to age, income, lifestyle interests and purchasing habits — or by a customized profile including income, age, credit card use and length and type of home-ownership.

Pricing for basic business and consumer addresses starts at 20 cents a name for as few as 100 names, and goes as low as 13 cents a name with volume discounts.  More detailed selections can be made at additional cost.

The business and consumer data available on MyProspects.com include the most accurate, up-to-date listings, ensuring customers receive the highest quality information each time they use the service.  Experian and Polk update their data records on a quarterly basis, running them through National Change of Address (NCOA) verification, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) certification, as well as internal consistency checks.  Experian conducts almost one million verification calls each month, while Polk compiles data from over 1.8 billion unduplicated source records.

To ensure that customers are successful with MyProspects.com, a telephone consulting service is available through a toll free number, 1-800-683-6208 for a fee of one dollar per minute.  The consultants will answer questions and provide advice concerning direct marketing strategies and techniques.

About Experian

Experian — a global information solutions company headquartered in Orange, Calif., and Nottingham, UK — is a leading supplier of consumer and business credit information, credit scoring and software solutions, and direct marketing services.  Including recent acquisitions Metromail Corp. (April 1998) and Direct Marketing Technology, Inc. (April 1997), Experian employs nearly 11,000 worldwide with 7,500 employees in the United States.  Annual sales are about $1.5 billion.  Experian is a subsidiary of the Great Universal Stores P.L.C., a UK-based holding company that includes home shopping, retail, property investment, finance and information services businesses.

About Polk

Polk provides multi-dimensional intelligence information solutions to companies as a statistician for the motor vehicle industry; as a direct- marketing resource; as a supplier of demographic and lifestyle data and database-marketing services; as a publisher of city directories; and as a data enabler for geographic information systems.  Based in Southfield, Mich., Polk is a privately held firm that is expanding globally and is currently operating in: the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, Holland and Costa Rica.

About MySoftware Company

MySoftware Company is the world’s leading provider of productivity software for small business professionals. MySoftware provides powerful software and Internet solutions that can turn any PC into a direct marketing powerhouse. Complementing its retail software products are MySoftware’s Internet services, dedicated to helping small offices find new customers ([http://www.MyProspects.com][2]) and grow their businesses ([http://www.GrowMyBusiness.com][3]). MySoftware actively partners with some of the world’s best-known companies to provide productivity solutions for their small business, home office customers. More information on MySoftware and its partners and products is available at [http://www.MySoftware.com][4].

[1]: http://www.myprospects.com
[2]: http://www.myprospects.com
[3]: http://www.growmybusiness.com
[4]: http://www.mysoftware.com

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