PaySys Names Data Warehouse GM

George E. Devitt has been named the new Vice President/General Manager for Data Warehousing for PaySys International, Inc., the leading credit card management software company headquartered in Atlanta. In the newly created position, Devitt will oversee the daily operations, development, marketing, and sales efforts for the data warehousing products developed by PaySys, according to Stephen B. Grubb, PaySys International CEO/president.

“We’re fortunate to have someone with George Devitt’s background and experience in the payment systems and information industries to head up our data warehouse group,” said Grubb.

Devitt, who will be based in PaySys offices in Orlando, Fla., will also be responsible for developing additional markets for the company’s data warehouse software, PS. InfoSource(TM), and for creating additional data warehousing programs.

He brings more than 15 years technology experience to his new position. Previously, he was Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Americas Group, for VeriFone, Inc., a Hewlett-Packard Company. At VeriFone, he was responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies for Internet commerce, consumer systems, SmartCard and client/server solutions. He managed product marketing and marketing communications as well as business development staffs.

Prior to VeriFone, he was Vice President, Worldwide Marketing and Sales, for Micro Design International, Inc., a Florida based computer peripheral products company. He was also Director, North American Sales and Support, for GO Corporation, a California “pen-based” computer company; an area, district and branch manager for Metaphor, Inc., an IBM company, marketing client-server relational database and decision support products; a Major Accounts Program Manager for Hewlett-Packard; and Marketing Manager for IBM. Devitt graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. degree in business administration. He is a member of the Sales and Marketing Executive Association, Data Processing Management Association, and the University of Florida Alumni Association.

PaySys International, a pioneer in credit card management software, has installations running in over 30 countries on 6 continents. PaySys systems process more credit card accounts daily than any other card system. Banks and retail establishments worldwide use the PaySys solutions more than any other comparable product for their processing needs.

VisionPLUS, which handles retail, bankcard and loan processing all in one system, is the latest product from PaySys, the company that also developed the legendary CardPac and VISION21. A privately-held company headquartered in Atlanta, PaySys has over 400 employees and operates offices and support centers in Orlando, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio; Melbourne, Australia; Dublin, Ireland; Singapore; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Costa Rica. Information about PaySys and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at [www.paysys.com][1].

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

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AIB Adds Brokerage Services

Atlanta Internet Bank launched an online brokerage services division, AIB Investment Services.  Now AIB customers can have access to all of their assets at their fingertips at one location, and automatically transfer idle cash from their UVEST brokerage account to their FDIC-insured, high interest AIB deposit account.

“We are proud to offer our customers another service that is designed to provide maximum convenience to manage their investment portfolios and banking — all under one roof,” said D.R. Grimes, chief executive officer of Atlanta Internet Bank.  “We are creating an environment where our customers can easily access their UVEST brokerage and AIB bank accounts anytime and anywhere to place trades, pay bills, write checks, use ATM’s and make purchases using a Debit Card.”

Customers are awarded with 50 free real-time quotes with every new account opened, with every trade placed and for every month the account remains open. Other benefits of opening a brokerage account include free portfolio tracking, free market information and access to detailed company and industry reports at reduced rates.

AIB Investment Services is bringing these online brokerage services to its customers through UVEST Investment Services, member NASD/SIPC.  Investors will be able to easily trade stocks and options online.  The customer’s online transaction history is automatically updated by the next day.

AIB has also partnered with Quote.com to bring its customers free portfolio tracking services.  Through UVEST, WallSt.com will provide comprehensive financial research on over 500,000 companies and industries for a minimal fee per report.

Through AIB’s Investment Services, customers will be charged $25.00 per stock trade for up to 2,000 shares and a $3.50 per month brokerage account fee.

According to Grimes, AIB Investment Services plans to have consolidated statements available in the near future.  AIB also plans to offer financial planning and asset allocation services through UVEST.

Securities are offered by UVEST Investment Services, member NASD/SIPC. UVEST is independent of any financial institution.  Securities (1) are not deposits of this institution; (2) are not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC, NCUA or any other government agency; (3) are not obligations of, or guaranteed by, any financial institution; and (4) involve investment risks, including the potential for fluctuations in investment return and the potential loss of principal.  UVEST is a registered trademark of UVEST Financial Services Group, Inc.

Atlanta Internet Bank (AIB) has quickly become the world’s leading provider of online consumer retail banking and financial services.  AIB offers checking, money market accounts and certificates of deposits with exceptional interest rates.  AIB is a Member, FDIC.  AIB is the world’s premier provider of electronic financial services and can be found on the World Wide Web at [http://www.netbank.com][1], or reached toll-free at 1-888-256-6932

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

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ATM Interfacing

Home Financial Network announced Thursday the incorporation of speech recognition and touch screen technologies in its Home ATM software. Home ATM’s speech recognition enhancement is being developed using the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech engine from Dragon Systems, Inc. and IBM’s Via Voice technology. HFN’s touch screen technology uses ELO IntelliTouch controllers, designed for surface acoustic wave touch screens.  The company will soon add AccuTouch controllers for touch screens that rely on capacitive and resistive technology. The company is also developing a free-standing kiosk version of Home ATM using 100% Pure Java and touch screen design.

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Syntellect IFS Certified

Syntellect Inc. completed the certification process to connect to Integrion Financial Network’s Interactive Financial Services (IFS) platform.  The certification ensures that Syntellect’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) product conforms to the GOLD standard, the open, cross-platform messaging interface employed by Integrion for retail banking transactions.  The connectivity between Syntellect’s IVR and Integrion’s IFS platform will be employed at Michigan National, an owner of Integrion, this summer.

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SmarTalk Rings Up Earnings

SmarTalk TeleServices, Inc. reported Wednesday financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 1998. For the first quarter of 1998, revenues grew 23.3% to $39.6 million from $32.1 million reported for the fourth quarter of 1997, and 437.6% from $7.4 million reported for the first quarter last year. The Company also reported break-even earnings per share from continued operations compared with a net loss of $0.02 per share for the first quarter last year.

The majority of SmarTalk’s revenues come from decremented minutes, which are the number of minutes of consumer usage of the Company’s services. Minutes decremented for the first quarter increased by 45.4% to 160.9 million, compared with 110.6 million for the quarter ending December 31, 1997, and increased by 357% compared with 35.2 million decremented minutes for the quarter ended March 31, 1997. Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) are used by the Company’s customers to access the SmarTalk system. The Company also tracks PINs activated as an indication of unique, new card accesses into the Company’s call processing network. In the first quarter ending March 31, 1998, the Company reported a 46% increase to 3.5 million new PIN activations compared with 2.4 million PINs activated for the quarter ending December 31, 1997, and a 697% increase compared with 437,055 PINs activated for the quarter ending March 31, 1997.

“Revenues for the quarter were in line with our previously announced estimates,” stated SmarTalk CEO Erich Spangenberg. “The increase in decremented minutes and revenues for the quarter demonstrate that more consumers are purchasing and using SmarTalk prepaid calling cards. The PIN activations number reflects a significant increase in consumer acceptance. We exited the quarter selling through approximately 34,000 storefronts and look to roll-out a significant number of additional storefronts over the balance of 1998.”

Company President and COO Jeff Lindauer stated “Our consolidation strategy is starting to yield results as evidenced by our break-even quarter. As of May 1st, the Company’s Los Angeles corporate office was closed and the promotional division will close its Boston office. The management team is coming together under one roof in Ohio, which we anticipate will make a positive impact on our business. We currently are in temporary quarters and expect to move into permanent corporate headquarters in Columbus in July. In addition to executing on our consolidation strategy and pursuing new business opportunities, we’ve recently completed the first phase of the roll-out of SmarTalk products to more than 14,000 U.S. Postal Service offices and vending locations.”

Commenting on the numbers for the quarter, SmarTalk CFO Andy Folck stated “Our numbers do not reflect any revenues from the call center operation which were in excess of $5 million. From January 1st, the call center has been classified as a discontinued operation and is anticipated to be sold during 1998. The loss attributable to the operation and closure of the call center is $3.3 million, or $0.15 per share. We do not consider the call center operation to be part of the Company’s core business.”

According to Senior VP Sales Jack Feingold “We’ve completely repositioned the USPS prepaid card as `A New Way to Communicate.’ This merchandising effort is being headed by SmarTalk’s VP Alternative Distribution, Mark Sterbens who, working closely with SmarTalk Chairman Robert Lorsch, developed the program with the USPS. We recently added in excess of 1,000 new retail storefronts including RaceTrac Convenience Stores, United Hardware, Southwest Supermarkets, Thrifty White stores, and others. We’ve also initiated a `most wanted’ list, which focuses our new business efforts on a number of the largest North American retailers and promotional marketers.

“We’ve become much more aggressive with our international strategy. We’ve lowered rates to Mexico and Canada. Calls from the U.S. to anywhere in Mexico are now only two units per minute on selected cards, including cards available at the U.S. Postal Service. Calls from the U.S. to anywhere in Canada, and calls from anywhere in Canada to the U.S. are only one unit per minute. As a result of this strategy, the Company has already expanded our long-term relationship with Office Depot to add their Canadian stores,” continued Mr. Feingold. “We’ve also begun rolling out higher value and co-branded SmarTalk cards to over 1,000 American Stores locations including Sav-On and Osco Drugs, and Lucky, Acme and Jewel supermarkets.”

Senior VP of Marketing Joe Borocz added “We’ve taken key strategic steps to launch our prepaid cellular product offering. We acquired Debit Cellular Network which brought us key enabling technology to build a true inbound and outbound prepaid cellular solution unlike any other solution currently available in the marketplace. Additionally, we announced a new strategic alliance last week with Boston Communications Group, the leading provider of prepaid wireless services to the wireless telecommunications industry. Our joint effort will give major national wireless carriers the opportunity to capitalize on SmarTalk’s broad-based national distribution channel and to use SmarTalk brand phone cards as a virtual `currency’ for their customers to recharge prepaid wireless phones.”

SmarTalk TeleServices, Inc. currently maintains distribution agreements with the U.S. Postal Service and leading mass merchandisers, consumer electronics retailers, supermarkets, hotels, home office superstores and convenience stores throughout North America and the U.K. The Company also creates promotional phone card programs for advertisers and corporate clients. Visit the SmarTalk website at [www.smartalk.com][1].

Note Certain statements made herein that are not historical in nature are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding anticipated increases in consumer acceptance and use of prepaid calling card products and their reliance upon such products; the expected benefits resulting from the Company’s consolidation strategy and management relocation to Ohio; the ability of the Company to increase sell-through at existing retail locations and to add new retail locations and retail customers to its existing distribution infrastructure; the ability of the Company to succeed in attracting its “most wanted” customers; the success of the Company’s anticipated international expansion; the success of the Company in completing the timely launch of its prepaid cellular product offering. This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Investors are cautioned that all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. These risks include, without limitation, risks relating to the likelihood that consumer acceptance and use of prepaid calling card products may not reach anticipated levels; the difficulty in successfully completing the Company’s consolidation strategy and the disruption that may be caused by the relocation of its management to Ohio; the ability of the Company to increase sell-through at existing retail locations and its ability to add new retail locations and retail customers to its existing distribution infrastructure; the possibility that the Company may not succeed in attracting its “most wanted” customers; the difficulty facing the Company in expanding its international presence; the ability of the Company to implement a timely launch of its prepaid cellular product offering. Investors who seek more information about the Company’s business and relevant risk factors may wish to review the Company’s SEC reports, including, without limitation, its Annual Report on Form 10-K for 1997 and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.

                     SMARTALK TELESERVICES, INC.
                       STATEMENT OF OPERATIONS
                             (Unaudited)

                Quarter Ended           1997 Quarter-Over-Quarter
                   March 31,
               1998        1997       4th Qtr     3rd Qtr     2nd Qtr

Revenues   $39,612,521  $7,368,333 $32,131,600 $20,565,623 $11,796,890
Cost of
revenue    23,908,488   4,760,748  16,670,129  11,796,488  7,204,054
Gross
profit     15,704,033   2,607,585  15,461,471   8,769,135  4,592,836
Sales and
marketing   5,450,629   2,545,414   3,288,851   4,672,415  2,996,050
General and
admini-
strative    9,084,480     901,231   8,006,597   3,667,800  2,619,144
Earnings
(loss)
before
interest
and taxes   1,168,924    (839,060)  4,166,023     428,920 (1,022,358)
Interest
income      1,129,006     528,763   1,243,519     790,142    580,761
Interest
expense     2,390,958           0   2,625,014     740,425    224,748
Income
taxes               0           0           0           0          0
Earnings (loss)
before one-time
charges and
discontinued
operations    (93,028)   (310,297)  2,784,528     478,637   (666,345)
One-time charges     0           0 (64,186,000)          0          0
Discontinued
operations (3,278,148)          0           0           0          0
Net
income
(loss)     ($3,371,176) ($310,297)($61,401,472)  $478,637  ($666,345)

Per share
Before one-time charges
and
discontinued
operations      ($0.00)   ($0.02)      $0.17       $0.03     ($0.05)
One-time
charges           0.00      0.00       (3.87)       0.00       0.00
Discontinued
operations       (0.15)      0.00       0.00        0.00       0.00
    Total        ($0.15)    ($0.02)    ($3.70)      $0.03     ($0.05)

-0-         
                Quarter Ended           1997 Quarter-Over-Quarter
                   March 31,
               1998        1997       4th Qtr     3rd Qtr     2nd Qtr

Weighted
average
outstanding
shares    21,902,362  12,897,674  16,597,729  16,846,271  13,940,285

Decremented
minutes   160,854,041  35,221,086 110,626,816  91,207,466  54,824,541

PINS
activated  3,483,123     437,055   2,385,174   1,770,574     693,447
Gross margin 
percentage     39.64%      35.39%      48.12%      42.64%      38.93%
Depreciation  474,473      43,355     371,562     275,036     114,987
Amorti-
zation     2,782,209           0   1,444,524   1,190,070     395,715

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

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Students Fail Personal Finance

American college students bounce checks, revolve credit card purchases and will rack an average of $15,000 in post-graduate according to recent survey conducted by Quicken. The survey found that 67% of college students now have credit cards with 71% of student cardholders revolving balances monthly. Almost half of the students surveyed admitted to bouncing a check during college. The Quicken survey found that less than half of college students balance their checkbook on a monthly basis, and almost three out of four students have called home and asked their parents for money.  Yet, twenty-seven percent of students make a valiant effort of keeping track of their money by trying to record at least some of the checks they have written.  Additionally, 10% of students leave their finances up to their parents and 9% leave balancing their checkbook up to fate. Most students estimate they will have an average debt of more than $15,000 upon graduation.  Interestingly, incoming freshmen who are probably less familiar with the cost of college expect to have approximately $8,300 in debt upon graduation, while their senior counterparts expect to have accumulated more than $16,000 in post-graduate debt.

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Seinfeld Carded

Credit card commercials from VISA and MasterCard will claim a spot in tonight’s ‘Seinfeld’ finale. Yesterday VISA announced it will debut a new 30-second commercial targeted at ‘Generation Xers’. VISA’s commercial will be a slightly offbeat spot that features funky music, hip GenXers and popular vintage clothing. Created by BBDO NY, the spot is titled “Attic” and is the latest installment in Visa’s highly successful “It’s Everywhere You Want To Be” campaign and is part of Visa’s brand campaign featuring merchants. The ad, targeting the twenty- and thirty-year-old segments, features trendsetters strutting their stuff at The Attic, a stylish vintage clothing store that “does not accept American Express. Pumping lyrics accompany split-second images of bright boas, sharkskin slacks and go-go boots.  It could be mistaken as a clothing ad until the familiar voice of Ed Grover sets you straight. VISA will reportedly shell-out about $1.5 million for the spot.

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NCR – TBS  Team

NCR Corp. and TBS First Inc. announced Wednesday a business alliance to offer solutions for the retail entry-level ATM market. Under the new alliance, TBS will contribute its electronic commerce software, sales and marketing experience to enhance this retail ATM solution. In addition, TBS will become the exclusive distributor in Canada, the United States and Latin America of NCR’s current mini-ATM, ‘The Cash’, and other future joint developed co-branded ATM solutions.  The distribution network will be made through the TBS Business Partners Plan.

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Mondex Israel

Mondex Israel launched a pilot of ‘Mondex Electronic Cash’ in the town near Tel Aviv yesterday.  This pilot is the 23rd implementation of Mondex to-date. Mondex Israel is jointly owned by Discount Investment Corp. and the Paz Group. The pilot is being conducted in Rehovot, a mid-sized city in the centre of Israel, with a population of around 85,000 and with 1,000 retailers.  Rehovot is best known as the site of the Weizmann Institute of Science, a world-famous advanced science learning and research centre, which has a student population of 5,000. The pilot phase will be accompanied by a multimedia advertising campaign produced by the Kesher Barel agency, using the tagline “Mondex -Israel’s Electronic Cash”.

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First Data Dividend

First Data Corporation declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.02 per common share yesterday.  The dividend is payable on July 15, 1998, to shareholders of record on July 1, 1998.

Hackensack, N.J.-based First Data Corporation is a global leader in payment systems, electronic commerce and information management products and services.  First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or smart card at the point of sale or over the Internet; by check or wire money.  For more information about First Data, please visit the Company on the Internet at [http//www.firstdatacorp.com][1].

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

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AmEx KnowledgeBase

American Express TRS and NC-based KnowledgeBase Marketing announced a partnership Tuesday to develop a series of products and services — ranging from turnkey customer acquisition and loyalty programs to advanced data warehousing services. The new services will become available to merchants for the first time later this year, and will be developed, packaged and priced to meet the needs of several merchant segments. American Express selected KnowledgeBase Marketing in conjunction with Yankelovich Partners for the depth and breadth of expertise and resources the collaboration of those two companies provide.

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