Vital Record

Vital Processing Services announced it has installed the 5,000th merchant POS-partner PC system.  Power of ease is exactly what this desktop payment system provides to its end-users, merchants who have the power to manage their payments business with tremendous flexibility because POS-partner is Windows-based.

POS-partner easily accommodates the unique industry requirements of merchants across the United States, and was designed with retailers, restaurateurs, hotels, direct marketers and billers in mind.  Vital launched POS-partner in June of 1996, and the current software demand is approximately 500-600 merchant systems per month.  Currently, Vital has a total of 139 financial institutions utilizing POS-partner, including U.S. Bancorp and Harris Bank.

Supporting credit and ATM cards, POS-partner is tailored for mid-sized to higher-end merchants.  This software system operates on a personal computer, as a stand-alone authorization and settlement unit, in a local area network (LAN) of PCs, or with dial terminals linked throughout the merchant’s property (HUB).  It has the power to support every type of card payment transaction, including full point-of-sale, for Visa(R), MasterCard(R), Discover(R)/ NOVUS(sm), Diners Club(R), American Express(R), JCB(R) and private-label transactions.  In addition to taking advantage of standard dial technologies at speeds of up to 9600bps, POS-partner can take advantage of newer technologies such as ISDN and asynchronous lease lines.

“We are excited POS-partner is in such high demand among merchants and is bringing efficiencies to our financial institutions and their merchants,” said Fred Gumbel, president and CEO of Vital.  “Tailored for retailers, restaurants, hotels, direct marketers and billers, POS-partner has proven to provide outstanding service, control and flexibility to all merchants.  This product reinforces our position in the marketplace of understanding merchants’ most pressing business challenges and proactively providing the innovative technology solution.”

Linda DeLude, product manager at U.S. Bancorp said, “POS-partner offers us the first all-in-one, windows-based product for our merchants, and the fact it can be used as a stand alone PC as well as in a HUB or LAN environment creates a huge advantage over other systems available to us.  Merchants like the ease of installation and the flexibility POS-partner provides, including the dedicated POS-partner help desk access.  Equally as important is the comfort level merchants have knowing that Vital and U.S. Bancorp will update them with any future regulatory changes.”

Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, one of the preferred hotels in the world, was involved in Vital’s POS-partner pilot program, and has been using POS-partner since 1995.  Windsor Court Hotel is a merchant of Harris Bank, one of Vital’s largest clients and distributors of POS-partner.

“POS-partner has had a major impact on streamlining our payment operations.  It provides superior speed and accuracy for the transmission of our data.  We were literally a day behind with our old system,” said Alledia Tubbs, assistant comptroller for Windsor Court Hotel.  “Integrating and automating our systems by linking them into a central PC significantly decreases the amount of time our night audit staff would have normally spent manually reporting and submitting transaction data.  In addition, it helps curb the level of fraudulent activity.  Vital knows our needs and satisfies them with exceptional customer service.”

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (NYSE USB), is the result of a merger between First Bank System, Inc. of Minneapolis and U.S. Bancorp, formerly headquartered in Portland, Oregon.  With $72 billion in assets, USB is the 14th largest bank holding company in the nation operating more than 1,000 banking offices in 17 states Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, California, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada, South Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Illinois, Utah, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Wyoming.  The company provides comprehensive banking, trust, investment and payment systems products and services to consumers, businesses and institutions.  It operates a network of 4,500 ATMs throughout the U.S. and 24 hour, seven days a week telephone customer service centers.  The company is the largest provider of Visa corporate and purchasing cards in the world and one of the largest providers of corporate trust services in the U.S.

The Harris Bank provides banking, trust and investment services to individuals, small and mid-market businesses and not-for-profit and government entities within Chicago and surrounding communities.  With $21.5 billion in assets, Harris is a leading provider of corporate banking services, primarily in the Midwest, and trust, cash management, investment management, private banking and credit card services throughout the U.S.  Harris Bank is wholly owned by the Bank of Montreal, Canada’s oldest and one of North America’s largest banks.  With 140 locations open, Harris is one of Chicago’s largest community bank networks and its third largest banking organization.

Windsor Court Hotel is owned by Orient-Express Hotels, based in London, England.  It is part of a luxury group of hotels, restaurants, trains, and cruises.  As members of both Leading Hotels of the World and Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Windsor Court Hotel has twice been named the number one hotel in America by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.

Vital Processing Services (Vital) is a leading full-service merchant processing company.  Its clients include financial institutions that provide credit card processing to their merchant customers.  Headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., Vital offers financial institutions operational services that enhance business solutions without competing for their merchant business.  Its services include merchant POS products, electronic authorization and data capture; clearing, settlement and exception processing; merchant accounting, billing, and reporting; operational fulfillment services (including the outsourcing of chargeback and retrieval processing); risk management; and customer service.  Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of Visa(R) U.S.A. and Total System Services, Inc.(R) (NYSE TSS) (TSYS(R)) ().  Vital’s Internet address is .


Connecting VRUs to IFS

Voice Integrators Inc. and Integrion Financial Network announced yesterday the availability of an engine that connects telephone voice response units to Integrion’s Interactive Financial Services platform.

Working closely with Integrion’s technology partner, IBM, Voice Integrators has developed the engine to enable the Direct Talk 6000 VRU system to deliver standard Gold messages to IFS.  Washington Mutual, Inc, an Integrion owner, will be the first bank to implement the Voice Integrator solution.  However, the Gold engine can be used with any VRU system and can be customized according to bank specifications.  Furthermore, the Gold engine allows for seamless connectivity between current VRU systems and IFS, causing no disruption to the bank customers’ experience.

As part of the Washington Mutual implementation, the Voice Integrator solution will become Gold-certified by Integrion.  This certification process ensures that a technology provider has conformed to the Gold standard and has properly employed Gold messages.

“While the personal computer is generally thought to be the instrument that will spur the development of home banking, the majority of remote transactions today are conducted over the telephone.  The Voice Integrators’ solution allows VRU systems to connect to IFS, allowing for the identical scalability and security that the PC channel enjoys today,” said Thomas Chisholm, President of Voice Integrators.  “The combined strengths of the IFS platform and this new engine will offer a unique competitive advantage to financial institutions using this new technology.  We are very excited and pleased about this strategic alliance with Integrion because of their leading position in electronic commerce services.”

David S. Fortney, Director of Product Development for Integrion, said, “Financial institutions will have to provide their customers multiple ways to do remote banking.  IFS allows financial institutions to give their customers both telephone and PC options without having to develop and manage multiple connections.  We are pleased to work with Voice Integrators, which has developed a valuable component of this system.”

About Integrion

Owned by 17 banks, IBM, and Visa USA, the Integrion Financial Network provides interactive banking and electronic commerce services to financial institutions.  Through the Interactive Financial Services (IFS) platform, Integrion offers financial institutions a network through which electronic transactions flow from multiple consumer access points to a bank’s host system and/or processor.

Integrion’s operating philosophy allows banks to determine the manner and format in which home banking and electronic commerce services are offered, ensuring consistency with the bank’s full range of services, effective branding by the bank and maximum customer benefit.

About Voice Integrators

Voice Integrators, Inc., is a supplier of enhanced electronic business call center solutions.  Voice Integrators’ solutions are found in a variety of industries, including banking, insurance, healthcare, utilities, and finance. Headquartered in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Voice Integrators is a global provider, and has been supplying enhanced call center solutions for more than 10 years.

For more information about Voice Integrators, Inc. and its products, please consult the World Wide Web at or call 201-818-6600.  For additional information on Integrion Financial Network and its products, please consult the World Wide Web at or call 215-575-4520.


Smart Card Nigeria

The world’s largest multi-bank smart card payment program will be launched this summer by a consortium of 19 Nigerian banks. Smart Card Nigeria also announced yesterday it has awarded the technology contract for the program to Dublin-based Card Services International. CSI will supply its ‘CardBASE2000’, a multi- application smart card platform, and will also supply the smart cards and POS devices. The first phase of the program, to get underway this summer, will involve 22,000 cardholders and 200 merchants. CSI says the program will be extended to millions of cardholders.


iMall Expansion

iMALL, Inc. , creator of the world’s first and largest independent Internet mall, Thursday launched the iMALL Electronic Commerce Reseller Program, leveraging its position as a leading provider of secure, online shopping solutions.  The new program will greatly extend iMALL’s reach into the exploding e-commerce marketplace by empowering established Internet resellers to easily upgrade their clients’ online presence into fully transactional, commerce-enabled web sites.  Denver-based Verio Web Hosting, Inc., a leader in Web hosting solutions with more than 1,800 resellers in 60 countries, was named the first master reseller in the new program.

“This program will provide resellers with an on-going revenue stream while offering merchants an extremely cost-effective, turnkey solution for establishing a secure Internet storefront,” said Richard Rosenblatt, chairman and CEO of iMALL, Inc.  “For an additional fee, merchants can also promote their products to iMALL’s more than two million monthly shoppers to quickly attract a qualified base of customers who prefer to do their shopping online.”

A key to the new program is iMALL’s iStore(TM) e-commerce and Internet storefront software, which is being made available for reseller use for the first time.  iStore is the primary tool that iMALL uses to create commerce- enabled Web sites for its popular online shopping mall at .

“More than four years of continuous internal use and development have gone into the making of iStore,” said Rosenblatt.  “With this mature product and iMALL’s market reach behind them, resellers will be able to offer merchants an e-commerce solution that we believe is superior to anything else on the market.  Throw in resellers’ value-added services and their long-term relationships with merchants, and you’ve got a formula that is going to make a lot of resellers very successful.”

Reseller Program Details

Two designations are available under the Electronic Commerce Services Reseller Program reseller and master reseller.  Master resellers, such as Verio Web Hosting, provide support for their resellers who offer Internet services to their business clients.  Resellers may work directly with iMALL, but are encouraged to work through a master reseller.  Discounts and support options vary based on the number of merchants a reseller or master reseller maintains.  Training and sales/marketing support options will be announced at a later date.

Private-labeling of iMALL’s Electronic Commerce Services is available exclusively to qualifying master resellers.  For more details about iMALL’s Electronic Commerce Services Program, please contact Gene Bergmann at

Verio Web Hosting Signed as First Master Reseller

Leading Web hosting vendor, Verio Web Hosting, Inc., today became the first master reseller for the newly announced program.  Under the terms of the agreement, Verio Web Hosting will offer a privately labeled version of iMALL’s Electronic Commerce Services through its more than 1,800 reseller partners in 60 countries.  Verio Web Hosting currently hosts more than 30,000 Web sites. (See separate announcement from Verio Web Hosting, Inc. at [][1].

“The majority of our resellers are ISPs and Web design shops who are looking for ways to diversify and expand their product offerings.  Not surprisingly, electronic commerce is at the top of most of their lists,” said J. Kent Millington, president of Verio Web Hosting.  “iMALL’s Electronic Commerce Services Program offers us a simple, ready-made way to put our resellers in the e-commerce business, which will also help to stimulate more Web hosting business for us.”

About iMALL, Inc.

iMALL, Inc., is the creator of , the world’s leading independent Internet mall and one of the most frequently visited electronic commercial destinations.  iMALL’s unique e-commerce architecture provides user-friendly search and purchasing features combined with the protection of secured transactions.  iMALL’s shares are publicly traded on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol “IIMLD”.  For more information on iMALL, Inc. call 818-509-3600, send e-mail to or visit on the World Wide Web.

iMALL and iStore are trademarks of iMall, Inc.  All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective holders.



New Card Printhead

Leading global designer and manufacturer of thermal label and plastic card printers, Eltron International yesterday announced shipment of its new long life printhead FBS (Floating Bracket System) architecture for the company’s popular plastic card printer product line. The new FBS extends the life of the printhead mechanism by 150 percent when used with Eltron recommended media and supplies. At 100K passes, Eltron printhead mechanism lasts longer than any plastic card printer in its class.

In addition to extending overall print head life, the new FBS printhead is extremely easy to replace and eliminates the need for printhead adjustments. It also reduces printhead vibration resulting in quiet printer operation. This makes the Eltron plastic ID card printers particularly well suited for use in ID card printing applications in facility lobbies and reception areas.

The FBS has been implemented in Eltron’s entire Privilege Series plastic card printer product line including the popular P300 (1000 monochrome cards/hour), the P300C (100 color cards/hour), the P400 (80 color cards/hour with dual sided printing), the P500 (100 color cards/hour with over lamination), and the P600 (180 color cards/hour). All Eltron card printers feature 300 dots per inch print resolution, resident fonts and bar code symbologies, Windows drivers, card design software, and parallel interface. Options include magnetic stripe encoding, smart card encoding support, and a serial interface.

ISO 9002 certified, Eltron International (NASDAQ NMELTN) is the leading designer and manufacturer of thermal label printers, plastic card printers, and secure ID printing systems. The company offers the broadest line of thermal printers, in the industry. Products include direct and thermal transfer bar code label and receipt printers, integrated verified printing systems, plastic card printers, secure ID printing system, pressure sensitive labels and tags, thermal ribbons, plastic cards and related accessories. Major users are in the healthcare, retail, manufacturing, automotive, package delivery, financial service, security and government markets throughout the world. Eltron has corporate headquarters in Simi Valley, Calif. and additional facilities throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East. More information about Eltron is available at .


Convenience Users

American Express released results from its ‘Everyday Spending Index’ yesterday that shows 70% of American consumers routinely pay their credit or charge cards bills each month and that 33% of consumers use plastic more frequently today then five years ago. Convenience was cited as the number one reason for using cards more frequently. Other reasons cited for increased card usage reward programs (61%); greater spending flexibility (59%); less check writing (56%), ability to float until the next cycle (54%); preference to not carry cash (50%) and better spending management (45%). AmEx says its survey shows the average American spends up to $20,000 each year on typical household and recurring expenses.


AmEx Oscar Scholarships

American Express announced Wednesday the creation of  a series of scholarships, totaling $500,000, for the American Film Institute on behalf of 20 Academy Award nominees.  The scholarships will go to talented aspiring filmmakers to study at the AFI’s Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies, which has trained many of the world’s directors, producers, screenwriters and cinematographers.

The scholarships will be created in the name of each of these Oscar-nominated American Express Cardmembers  Kim Basinger, James Cameron, Peter Cattaneo, Helena Bonham Carter, Joan Cusack, Matt Damon, Minnie Driver, Robert Duvall, Atom Egoyan, Peter Fonda, Robert Forster, Curtis Hanson, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Gloria Stuart, Gus Van Sant and Kate Winslet.

“We wanted to congratulate Cardmembers who are Oscar nominees in a way that would honor their profession.  By working with the American Film Institute, American Express is creating a series of scholarships to empower the next generation of filmmakers,” said Nancy Smith, Vice President of Global Sponsorships for American Express, noting that the company is a long-time sponsor of the Academy Awards(R).  “American Express seeks to play a supporting role for film professionals everywhere.”

Jean Picker Firstenberg, Director and CEO of the American Film Institute (AFI), said  “Through this program, these Oscar nominees and American Express are providing for the future of American filmmaking.  American movies set the standard for the world, and Oscar nominees represent this great American art form at its highest level of achievement.  So it is fitting to recognize their work through scholarships.  AFI is grateful to the nominees and to American Express for supporting American filmmaking.”

American Express will announce the establishment of the film scholarships to AFI and congratulate the nominees with full-page ads (see attached) in newspapers and magazines across the country, beginning March 13.

Graduates of AFI’s Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies include  Ed Zwick, Amy Heckerling, Mimi Leder, David Lynch, Marshall Herkovitz, John McTiernan, Terence Malick, Jon Avnet, Carl Franklin, Martin Brest, Paul Schrader, and Janusz Kaminski.  Also known as the AFI Conservatory, the Center was established in 1969 and trains many of the world’s most talented aspiring filmmakers in the European conservatory tradition as part of a two-year graduate program composed of seven disciplines  directing, producing, cinematography, editing, production design, screenwriting and digital media arts.  AFI Fellows often have already earned graduate degrees in film studies from other institutions and/or have produced a significant body of work before coming to AFI.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, AFI is the national arts organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image.  AFI’s programs promote innovation and excellence through teaching, presenting, preserving and redefining the moving image.

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850.  It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.  For more information on American Express, visit our web site at [][1].



CheckFree/Integrion Deal

CheckFree Corporation and Integrion Financial Network announced Wednesday that they had signed an agreement whereby CheckFree will assume the management of Integrion’s Herndon, Virginia operations later this summer.  This operation, which handles bill payment fulfillment and customer service, serves approximately 50 financial institution customers of Integrion.

The agreement is a significant step in the 10-year processing Strategic Alliance Agreement announced in October 1997 in which CheckFree will become the supplier of back-end electronic billing and payment processing services to Integrion customers.  In turn, Integrion’s Interactive Financial Services (IFS) platform will become CheckFree’s preferred front-end system for routing financial transactions.

Upon completion of today’s outsourcing agreement, Integrion warrants on three million shares of CheckFree stock will be vested, exercisable at $20-15/16.  CheckFree plans to take a non-cash charge of $30 to $40 million related to such warrants at the end of the quarter ended March 31, 1998.  Both parties expressed satisfaction that another milestone in their relationship had been reached on schedule.  CheckFree and Integrion are jointly developing the next generation banking, bill payment and presentment platform based on Integrion’s IFS platform and CheckFree’s processing infrastructure.

About Integrion Financial Network

Integrion Financial Network provides interactive banking and electronic commerce solutions to financial institutions.  Through the Interactive Financial Services (IFS) platform, Integrion offers financial institutions a network through which electronic transactions flow from multiple consumer access points to a bank’s host system and/or processor.  Integrion’s operating philosophy allows banks to determine the manner and format in which home banking and electronic commerce services are offered, ensuring consistency with the bank’s full range of services, effective branding by the bank and maximum customer benefit.

The owners of Integrion are ABN AMRO North America, Bank One, Bank of America, Citibank, Comerica, First Chicago NBD, First Union National Bank, Fleet Financial, IBM, KeyCorp, Mellon Bank, Michigan National Bank, NationsBank, Norwest, PNC Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, US Bancorp, Visa U.S.A and Washington Mutual, Inc.  Additional information about Integrion can be found on the Internet at .

About CheckFree

Founded in 1981, CheckFree Corporation () is a wholly owned subsidiary of CheckFree Holdings Corporation and is the leading provider of electronic commerce services, software and related products for more than 2.2 million consumers, 1,000 businesses and 850 financial institutions. CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable its members to make electronic payments and collections, automate paper-based recurring financial transactions and conduct secure transactions on the Internet.


Home ATM Smart Cards

Transaction Software International, Inc. announced the addition of smart card support to the company’s Internet home banking product, VAS-HOME (Virtual ATM Simulator). Using the actual transaction “script” files prepared for real ATMs, VAS-HOME presents the familiar street-corner ATM interface to bank customers over the Internet.  It allows customers to access account information, pay bills, transfer funds and manage their accounts on-line without special software. The company has plans to embark upon a live-use, pilot program with a domestic financial institution.

Brian L. Lee, Vice President, Technology at Transoft, says, “This enhancement ushers in another Transoft innovation in the automation of electronic commerce.  The ATM is a universally accepted banking medium.  There is no easier delivery mechanism than to bring it into the customer’s home. The addition of smart card capabilities to VAS-HOME completes the transfer path of value from the card holder’s account to his pocket under tight security in a Web browser.”

The hardware component employed in Transoft’s smart card support can be attached to virtually any PC via a serial, parallel, USB or PCMCIA port.  It is compliant with all major international smart card standards and supports the Data Encryption Standard (DES), access passwords and existing Personal Identification Number (PIN) security measures.

The software interface conforms to the Microsoft Smart Card SDK that is endorsed by industry leading vendors including Gemplus, Group Bull, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Schlumberger Electronic Transactions, Siemens Nixdorf Information Systems and Trithelm Technologies.

Smart card use is gaining acceptance in the U.S. and abroad.  According to industry sources, there are 50 million smart cards deployed in banking applications worldwide.  In the financial services sector alone, an average annual smart card growth in excess of 50% is expected over the next five years.



Sterling Commerce announced Wednesday it will provide COMMERCEInteract, a secure Web-based catalog and ordering system for business-to-business transactions, to Zellerbach, A Mead Company. Zellerbach provides products and services to the industrial supply, printing, and packaging markets.

COMMERCEInteract will enable Zellerbach customers to use either Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer to search product information and place orders, with payment accepted via credit card.  Transaction information will be integrated into Zellerbach’s back office system via electronic data interchange (EDI).  The initial target market for the Web-based service is several hundred Zellerbach customers in the hospitality and healthcare industries.

“This product will help us reach out via the World Wide Web with a solution that helps reduce current channel costs,” said David Wallace, manager, customer technology solutions for Zellerbach.  “In addition, we can capitalize on our existing electronic commerce investment, since the information from COMMERCEInteract will be seamlessly integrated into our ongoing order and inventory management systems.”

Components of COMMERCEInteract to be utilized by Zellerbach include

* Text and graphical catalogs, enabling customers to browse product and pricing information

* Order placement and management capability for Zellerbach’s full line of printing, packaging, and industrial supply items

* Administrative and maintenance tools for easy updating of catalog information, and customized levels of access for customers to meet Zellerbach’s business requirements

Data transmissions for COMMERCEInteract are encrypted via Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, and the Web site resides on a server in Sterling Commerce’s data center.  Secure access and the EDI processing is handled via Sterling’s COMMERCENetwork.

“We are pleased to help Zellerbach positively impact its top and bottom lines while reaching customers more effectively,” said Paul L. H. Olson, president of Sterling Commerce’s Commerce Services Group.  “This solution combines the Web’s ease of use with the reliability and security of COMMERCENetwork to help Zellerbach build, manage and improve the quality of relationships with its trading communities.”

Other major companies utilizing COMMERCEInteract to streamline their supply chain process include Owens Corning and Pirelli Cables North America. COMMERCEInteract is part of a comprehensive range of business solutions from Sterling Commerce that help companies effectively incorporate the Internet and World Wide Web into their electronic commerce programs.

Sterling Commerce is a leading, global provider of business-to-business electronic commerce software and value-added services.  The company is ranked eighth on Forbes magazine’s list of the Best-Performing Small Companies in America.  Also, The Red Herring, a magazine which covers the business of technology, named Sterling Commerce as one of the five Best Long-Term Potential technology companies.  Sterling Commerce has been providing electronic commerce solutions for over 20 years, and has 36 office locations and more than 50 distributors worldwide.  Sterling Commerce has over 37,000 customers and 1,700 employees worldwide, and 1997 revenues of over $350 million.  For more information, visit the Sterling Commerce Web site at .

Zellerbach, a division of The Mead Corporation, is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, with locations throughout the United States.  A leading national sales and marketing company, Zellerbach provides value-added solutions and services for the printing, packaging and industrial supply markets.  The company specializes in partnering with customers to determine their needs and provides cost-effective recommendations for their operations.

The COMMERCE suite of services and products are marks of Sterling Commerce, Inc.

All other products or company names mentioned are used for identification purposes only, and may be trademarks of their respective owners.


Debt Search

CA-based The Debt Marketplace, Inc. said its new on-line service for buyers and sellers of delinquent receivables is receiving about 9,000 hits per month. Launched last month, ‘Debt Search’ enables participants to maintain control over the entire marketing, solicitation and contact process while maintaining appropriate confidentiality. Sellers can list portfolios and then receive messages through blind e-mail, screening potential partners. Buyers can review bad debt portfolios by product type and can post a detailed profile listing to provide sellers with preliminary due diligence information. ‘Debt Search’ also offers service providers the opportunity to advertise to the debt trading industry.