NDC Acquires CheckRite

National Data Corporation and Data Broadcast Corporation (Nasdaq: DBCC)(DBCC), today announced a definitive agreement under which NDC will acquire substantially all of the assets of DBCC’s check services business, CheckRite.

CheckRite, based in Salt Lake City, is a leading provider of check services. It operates throughout the United States, primarily in Western and Midwestern markets. It currently serves approximately 35,000 merchants.

“This transaction complements our existing check services business,” said Tom Dunn, NDC’s general manager of Integrated Payment Systems. “It expands our range of services and product offerings, as well as our geographic reach, in a business that continues to perform very well for us.”

Mike Egan, executive vice president of CheckRite, stated, “This continues our long-standing relationship with NDC and will expand the products and services that we can offer our customers.”

CheckRite will operate within NDC’s Payment Systems line of business and continue to be based in Salt Lake City.

The acquisition is subject to the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Anti-Trust Improvements Act and other usual closing conditions.

National Data Corporation is a leading provider of payment systems solutions and health information services that add value to its customers’ operations.

When used in this report, press releases and elsewhere by management of National Data Corporation, from time to time, the words “believes,” “anticipates,” “expects” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s operations, economic performance and financial condition, including in particular, the likelihood of the Company’s success in developing and expanding its business. These statements are based on a number of assumptions and estimates which are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of the Company, and reflect future business decisions which are subject to change. A variety of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the Company’s forward-looking statements, some of which include competition in the market for the Company’s services, continued expansion of the Company’s product and service offerings and other risk factors that are discussed from time to time in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) reports and other filings. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward- looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligations to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or thereof, as the case may be, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


NBS & Bull PTS Join NatWest Pilot

NBS Technologies Inc. through its UK subsidiary, NBS Limited, announced that NBS and Bull PTS were chosen to provide their smart card personalization solution for the APACS Integrated Circuit Card trial.

NBS Limited and its business partner Bull PTS, the global smart card technology division of Bull Information Systems, are providing a complete solution to allow NatWest to personalize smart cards. The cards are currently being piloted by NatWest credit and debit card holders as part of the UK APACS (Association of Payments Clearing Services) smart card trial currently taking place in Dunfermline and Northampton.

Data from the cards is passed from the NatWest debit or credit data centre to the card personalizing system at NatWest’s London site, where the Bull software enables two NBS desktop card personalization systems to encode the magnetic stripe and electronically personalize the smart chip, foil tip, emboss and indent print the cards.

The NBS-Bull solution enables NatWest to make each smart card a unique item, further enhancing the bank’s capability to offer a high quality secure payment solution to its card holders and at the same time reduce the risk of fraud.

Ken Kivenko, NBS President and CEO, commented, “The NatWest pilot is a prime example of how smart card technology combined with innovative personalization equipment can work in a live environment. The NBS-Bull partnership is not a new one–we are already working together on several projects across Europe and on transaction terminals in North America. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Bull and NatWest in the future.”

“NatWest has been at the forefront of the use and development of smart card technology and is committed to its trial in the debit/credit card arena,” said Bev Stevens, head of information services programs for NatWest Cards. “We chose NBS-Bull for its significant expertise in this area. Bull has been involved in other smart card rollouts of this kind with banks throughout France, where smart cards have been in use for some time. This, combined with Bull’s commitment to security and quality, made it a good choice of partner in this program,” he added.

The UK smart card trial has been running in Dunfermline and Northampton since October 1997 and means that NatWest customers are now using smart cards to make payments in place of conventional magnetic stripe cards. The smart cards retain the functionality of the magnetic stripe cards, and incorporate the latest technologies to enable secure transactions to be carried out at the allocated retail outlets. The trial is being conducted to assess the viability and acceptability of the card products while counteracting the rise in counterfeit fraud of plastic cards in the UK.

For further details, please visit NBS on stand B13 and Bull Information Systems on stand A26 at Smart Card ’98 at Olympia 2, London, UK, between February 17 – 19, 1998.

NBS Technologies Inc. is a multinational company that designs, manufactures and markets an integrated line of plastic card, card issuance, identification and point-of-sale products, services and software. Customers, who cover a wide range of market segments and applications, include financial institutions, retailers, government agencies, and healthcare organizations. The Company is a Toronto-based public company that sells to customers in over 85 countries through facilities located in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.


Marine Midland Selects NYCE ATM

Marine Midland Bank has signed an agreement to outsource automated teller machine processing to NYCE Corporation. In this capacity, NYCE will provide driving support, 24-hour terminal monitoring and gateway access for Marine Midland’s 420 ATMs in New York State. NYCE will also provide on-line stand-in authorization services for the bank’s one million ATM cards.

The multi-year agreement was announced by Dennis F. Lynch, president and chief executive officer of NYCE Corporation, and John A. Hamilton, executive vice president, information technology, Marine Midland Bank. The actual transfer of ATM processing is scheduled to take place later this year.

The bank’s electronic funds transfer (EFT) program spans the globe and supports numerous consumer initiated electronic transactions. Marine Midland decided to out-source selected activities to NYCE, a leader in electronic payments processing, as customer demand for the bank’s programs increased. Marine Midland, as an equity owner of NYCE, is not obligated to contract with NYCE for processing services and based its decision on the strength of NYCE’s product offering and support capabilities.

“Marine Midland is a leading financial services institution that understands first-hand the complexities of operating ATMs,” said Mr. Lynch. “The bank’s selection of NYCE for an end-to-end EFT processing solution underscores both the bank’s commitment to the service and our ability to deliver it effectively.”

“Our customers depend on our EFT services, and we are confident in NYCE’s ability to support them,” said Mr. Hamilton. “NYCE’s reliable technology, strong customer service and exceptional industry experience ensure that we will always be able to provide our customers with superior quality and convenience.”

Marine Midland Bank, headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., is a New York State regional banking organization, with nearly $32 billion in assets and more than 380 branches. It is the principal subsidiary of HSBC Americas, Inc., an indirectly-held, wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc. With more than 5,500 offices in 79 countries and territories and assets of $458 billion at June 30, 1997, the HSBC Group is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations.

Based in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., NYCE Corporation provides financial institutions with flexible, state-of-the-art processing services that include telephone- and PC-based banking and bill payment solutions, ATM terminal driving, card authorization, card management, and gateway access. The corporation also operates the NYCE Network, the largest shared regional electronic funds transfer (EFT) network in the Northeast.


Hypercom Names Former AmEx Exec to Board

Hypercom Corp.announced the appointment Tuesday of John C. Elliott to its board of directors, increasing the number of board members to seven.

Elliott was previously an executive vice president of American Express Travel Related Services, responsible for several global strategic projects and is currently an independent consultant. Prior to serving at American Express, Elliott was chairman and CEO of CES-Card Establishment Services, the third-largest payment processor in the United States.

He has also held senior-level positions with Veritas, a consulting and software firm specializing in technical strategic and product planning for the financial services industry; MasterCard International, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and Citicorp Services.

“The addition of John Elliott to Hypercom’s board brings the company a wealth of top-level experience and industry contacts in strategic product planning, payment processing, communications networking, financial services and IS development, both domestic and international,” said George Wallner, chairman of Hypercom.

“His involvement with our board will enhance the company’s continued growth as one of the world’s leading providers of POS services and terminals, as well as support our expansion into newer areas such as smart cards and Internet-based payment processing.”

Hypercom Corp.

Hypercom is a leading independent worldwide supplier of point-of-sale payment processing solutions. The company is also developing Internet-based payment-processing capabilities. Hypercom provides innovative solutions for delivering and processing secure electronic payments and the infrastructure to quickly and cost-effectively integrate and deploy new payment applications.

Hypercom’s end-to-end product family of terminals, peripherals and POS network products and software enables merchants and service providers to automate credit, debit and other electronic payment transactions with seamless integration, scalability and interoperability.

With headquarters in Phoenix, Hypercom markets its products in more than 50 countries through a global network of offices and affiliates in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Hypercom’s Internet address is [www.hypercom.com][1].

For further information on Hypercom, via fax free of charge, dial 800/PRO-INFO and enter company code HYC.

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


Transact 4 Released

Internet commerce pioneer Open Market, Inc., introduced Transact 4, a significant new release of the acclaimed software which is defining the application standard for Internet commerce in more than 18 countries worldwide. Transact, originally introduced in 1995, is the pre-eminent transaction processing, order management, and customer service software for Internet commerce.

Already, Transact provides the commercial backbone for some of the highest-profile sites on the Web today, including SegaSoft’s Heat.net, CNET’s BuyDirect.com, and Time Inc.’s Pathfinder, among others. It has also been adopted by five of the world’s ten-largest telecommunications companies and leading financial services firms as the basis for low-cost, outsourced Internet commerce services that they provide to their small and medium-sized business customers. These kinds of companies, known as Commerce Service Providers (CSPs), include AT&T, NTT, BT, First Union National Bank, ICOMS, France Telecom, Barclays Bank, and more than 20 others. AT&T, France Telecom, West Group, ICOMS, Swiss PTT, and ECNet are among the companies participating in the Transact 4 beta test program.

“Transact 4 is the culmination of a four-year mission at Open Market to address the business operations side of Internet commerce with a comprehensive enterprise application software product,” said Gary Eichhorn, president and CEO of Open Market.  “While everyone else has been focusing on the sales and marketing side of business on the Web, we’re the only company with a product that answers the question now being asked by companies of all sizes around the globe ‘How do I turn my great Web site and the buyers it’s attracting into a business?'”

Eichhorn concluded, “The rapid adoption of Transact by corporations around the world attests to the importance of the business end of the Internet commerce solution customer support, service, and satisfaction; support for flexible business models; and enterprise integration. It also attests to the dawning recognition that there’s not enough time to build all of this software from scratch or from the simple toolkits and commerce servers on the market.”

The Internet commerce market is expected to grow dramatically, from $2.6 billion in commerce conducted over the Web in 1996 to more than $220 billion during 2001, according to Framingham, MA-based International Data Corporation in its recently published report, Internet Commerce Market Model.

In its three years in the marketplace, Transact’s depth and breadth of robust, comprehensive functionality — including buyer authentication, payment, order processing, tax and shipment cost calculation, fulfillment, buyer self-service, customer service, reporting, profiling, and analysis — have already made it the standard for Internet commerce.  Now, with rich new features such as multi-language capabilities, customizable buyer and seller screens, and ease of integration, Open Market’s Transact 4 ushers in a new category of Internet commerce enterprise application software — offering the industry’s only packaged enterprise application software for business-critical Internet operations.

What’s New in Transact 4

Improved Order Flow and Screen Management

Transact 4 re-engineers, simplifies, and speeds up the entire Internet commerce order flow. It introduces a new screen management framework called Smart Pages to support improved buyer flow, screen branding, and multi- language buyer screens (English, French, German, and Japanese initially, although Transact 4 can support most major languages).  For example, each individual business unit operating on a corporation’s Transact can customize the buyer screens to their own preferences and style.  A single Transact will also be able to support buyers in multiple languages simultaneously as well as support multi-byte character sets for customers serving Asian markets.  This global, customer-centric approach enables companies to deepen customer relationships worldwide and achieve cohesive global branding.

Order Entry API

This remote API is designed to allow an application outside of Transact 4 to enter orders into the system without having to interact with the Transact screens.  Clients of this API could be front-office applications such as a cross-store ordering module, a business-to-business approval system, or a client-side shopping cart.  Outside development organizations, such as Internet software vendors and professional services firms, can use this API to enhance their own offerings to clients.  This tight integration allows a complete automation of the Internet commerce cycle, enabling greater convenience and potential cost savings.

Comprehensive Payment

A new payment API enables numerous new payment modules, including pre-pay and post-pay microtransactions, credit card fraud, switch cards (a payment card popular in the UK and Europe), and SET.  In addition Transact already supports credit cards, store-branded cards, debit cards, procurement cards, purchase orders, coupons, and subscriptions.  The software is also configured so that it can support bank cards, remote billing interfaces, custom purchase orders, frequent buyer points, smart cards, and other new payment processing interfaces as they arise.  As Internet commerce evolves, so does the number of payment options.  Transact can support these new payment methods as they develop, giving companies and their customers as much choice as they require.

Partial Shipment Capability

The fulfillment system in Transact 4 supports sellers handling back-order and partial fulfillment and partial credit situations, enhancing the overall fulfillment functionality.  This allows companies to flexibly model their Internet commerce systems around real-world fulfillment scenarios.

Enhanced Personalized Marketing Functionality

Beyond custom fields, additional one-to-one marketing capabilities have been added to Transact 4 through two new features.  First, the fulfillment API has been improved to allow sellers to access the purchase history of a given buyer.  Second, expanded reporting capabilities enable more sophisticated personalized marketing.  Companies can now take greater advantage of the Internet by capturing and leveraging buyer information in their marketing efforts.

Numerous other improvements have been made, including enhancements to installation routines, a database clean-up utility, improved key management, the ability to download transaction data and integrate financial information into existing accounting packages, centralized customer service, and a streamlined store registration process.

Transact 4’s innovative component architecture allows customers to customize Transact to match their business practices and integrate it with their other enterprise systems.  The software allows Web developers to use any Internet technology, including HTML authoring tools, Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX, to build sales and marketing sites and extend Transact’s interfaces. The result a rich, seamless buyer experience backed by the most comprehensive, market-tested Internet commerce software.

Transact 4 has already received a warm reception from Open Market’s beta test customers, including AT&T, France Telecom, and West Group, as well as a host of partners.

“Transact 4’s flexible options such as merchant branding helps us deliver best-in-breed Internet commerce services for our business customers, and builds on the software’s already robust feature set for secure, industrial- strength Internet commerce,” said Ron Koskinen, AT&T marketing director for AT&T SecureBuy service.

“France Telecom has developed a wide range of Internet products, such as Internet access for all kinds of networks, content, and directory information,” said Gerard Eymery, CEO of France Telecom’s Multimedia Division. “Our electronic commerce offering is a key part of our strategy, and has been developed from what we learned with our Minitel model.  What Transact enables us to do is take that successful model and transfer it to the Internet. Specifically, Transact 4 gives France Telecom many powerful options, such as the ability to conduct business over the Internet in multiple languages, the ability to support microtransactions as developed by France Telecom, and flexible payment options such as SET.”

“The current version of Transact powers the commerce application in our Web site (),” said Laurie Hansen, director of Internet commerce for West Group, the nation’s leading professional publisher.  “We’re looking forward to migrating to Transact 4.  We will use it to customize the screens we present to our visitors, and plan to use the new Payment API to develop a streamlined interface that will allow our customers to easily select the payment option of their choice.”

“CSC has provided Transact integration services as part of our full range of e-commerce services since the product’s beta release,” said Chris Davis, managing director at CSC, an Open Market Enterprise Integration Partner, based in Waltham, Massachusetts.  “Our experience with many Open Market product installations, combined with our close working relationship with the Open Market organization, ensures that our clients benefit from the best available products and integration practices.”

Mike Read, vice president of sales and marketing for Corporate Hosting Partner ANS Communications Inc., based in Purchase, NY, noted, “Open Market is a leader in high performance e-commerce solutions and we consider our ability to host Open Market Transact customers to be vital to growing our Web hosting client base. For businesses that want to set up a storefront on the Web or for Commerce Service Providers, ANS Communications and Open Market represent an ideal solution.”

“Corporations today deal with so many IT Vendors that it is a relief to find an answer for electronic commerce sites that provides built-in security, in contrast with the build-it-yourself approach,” said Marketta Silvera, president and CEO of Pilot Network Services, Inc., based in Alameda, California.  “Pilot’s Secure Commerce Services teamed with Open Market’s Transact software provide the solution that enables customers to focus on their core business.” Pilot Network Services is an Open Market Corporate Hosting Partner.

“The enormous flexibility of Transact 4 gives merchants the opportunity to effectively deliver a personalized shopping experience,” said Michael Rowsom, vice president of marketing for Intelligent Interactions. “Used in conjunction with Intelligent Interactions’ dbCommerce(TM), Transact 4 customers can effectively integrate customer data to deliver the most effective personalized promotions based on a particular customer’s transaction history. The unique merchandising opportunities presented by these capabilities are sure to provide significantly improved response, retention, and increased customer lifetime-value.”

Platforms, Pricing and Availability

Transact 4 runs on the industry’s leading UNIX platforms, including Sun Solaris, HP-UX, SGI IRIX, and Stratus, all with support for both Oracle and Sybase databases. Pricing for Transact starts at $125,000 in the U.S. Transact 4 is expected to be generally available in the first quarter of 1998.

More About Open Market

Founded in 1994, Open Market, Inc. provides high-performance application software products and professional services that allow its customers to engage in business-to-consumer and business-to-business Internet commerce, information commerce, and commercial publishing. Among Open Market’s distinguished roster of customers are five of the world’s ten-largest telecommunications firms and more than 700 publishers. The company, headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, can be reached by calling 1.888.OPEN.MKT or by visiting .

NOTE more information about Transact 4 can be found at and .

This news release contains forward looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties.  Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements are the company’s limited operating history, delays in product development, development of the Internet market, changes in product pricing policies, competitive pressures, and the risk factors detailed from time to time in the company’s periodic reports and registration statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Open Market, Transact, and We ARE Internet Commerce are trademarks or registered trademarks of Open Market, Inc. in the United States and other countries.  All other names are used for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.


Cap One’s Secret Weapon

Capital One’s explosive growth over the past three years is driven by its renowned “Information Based Strategy”. The company indicated yesterday the core of that strategy is comprised of an Oracle-based three-terabyte data warehouse and several data marts housed on a five terabyte disk farm. Cap One’s data warehouse holds basic information on 120 million households, detailed data on 10 million customers and performance/profitability information on more than 4,000 product, pricing and feature combinations. The company uses the information to predict consumer behavior and then matches prospects to more than 300 credit cards with various terms and fees.


Pizza Hut Goes T7P

Hypercom Corp. Tuesday announced that Pittsburg, Kan.-based NPC International Inc., the largest franchise group for Pizza Hut International restaurants in the world, has installed Hypercom’s T7P point-of-sale (POS) terminals in all 685 of its Pizza Hut restaurants.

Hypercom(R) is a leading supplier of POS payment systems, enterprise networking solutions and client/server software. The terminals were installed and will be serviced by First Tennessee Merchant Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of First Tennessee Bank National Association.

The 24-state, franchise-wide deployment of the T7P began in NPC’s dine-in Pizza Hut restaurants in November 1997. It then was broadened to delivery kitchens, which handle walk-in pick-up and delivery orders. That phase of the deployment was completed in mid-December.

The size of the deployment underscores the confidence First Tennessee and NPC have in the Hypercom product line. Part of the reason for that confidence is Hypercom’s industry-leading five-year warranty on terminals.

“The T7P has a highly favorable design for our use because it is easy to operate and has a small footprint. The fact that it occupies very little counter space combined with its functionality makes it extremely beneficial to NPC as we begin to accept credit cards in our Pizza Hut delivery kitchens,” said Mike Gibson, director of corporate administration, NPC International.

Prior to the Hypercom deployment, the NPC Pizza Hut delivery kitchens, which handle only walk-in customers and delivery orders, did not accept credit cards for payment. Now, those 150 locations have on-line credit authorization capability.

“This deal is significant because it’s not often that a customer of this size decides to install this many terminals at one time,” said Steve Demaree, senior vice president of merchant sales, First Tennessee. “Key factors NPC considered before selecting the T7P included ease of use, small footprint and prompt authorizations. The T7P met those requirements and provided for NPC’s future needs as well.”

“There’s no doubt NPC has made a major commitment to Hypercom. Working in concert with First Tennessee Merchant Services, we are equally committed to maintaining customer satisfaction at NPC,” said John Marshall, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Hypercom US/Canada, a division of Hypercom.

The Hypercom T7P Terminal

The T7P incorporates a modular printer, available in thermal or friction. NPC was impressed with the speed of the printers, especially the thermal, which prints seven lines per second.

The T7P is easy on counter space thanks to its small footprint — 6.25 inches wide by 11.5 inches deep by 4.5 inches high (with full 3-inch diameter roll of paper) — which is especially helpful in the delivery kitchens, where space is at a premium.

Other significant attributes of the T7P include low response time — under 10 seconds, a large back-lit LCD display (two lines of 20 characters) and an easy-to-use keyboard.

Ease of Use

According to NPC’s Gibson, the fact that training went quickly and smoothly is evidence of the T7P’s ease of use.

In November, First Tennessee Merchant Services trained regional and area managers of the Birmingham, Ala.; Springfield, Mo.; and Memphis, Tenn., Pizza Hut dine-in restaurants. Those managers then trained their employees.

Employees in those three areas got up to speed so quickly on the T7P that NPC soon extended the training to the dine-in restaurants in other regions and all delivery kitchens.

NPC also loaded the terminal-capture software, which allows for adjustments, such as gratuities, to be made quickly and easily. The dine-in restaurants’ previous POS hardware ran host-capture software, which “captured” transaction information and forwarded it to the host processor for storage. Thus, adjusting payments was inconvenient for the merchant and the customer.

NPC International

NPC International is the world’s largest Pizza Hut franchise and currently operates 685 Pizza Hut restaurants and delivery kitchens in 24 states. Through Romacorp. Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, NPC also operates and franchises 190 Tony Roma’s(R) restaurants, the casual theme restaurant chain that is famous for ribs, worldwide.

About First Tennessee

First Tennessee Merchant Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of First Tennessee Bank National Association with processing centers in Memphis and Denver. First Tennessee National Corp., parent company of First Tennessee Bank National Association, with headquarters in Memphis, is a $14.4 billion financial services institution providing banking and other financial services nationwide.

The corporation’s common stock is traded over the counter on the Nasdaq Stock Market’s National Market System under the symbol FTEN. Information is also available at First Tennessee’s Web site at www.ftb.com.

About Hypercom Corp.

Hypercom is a leading supplier of point-of-sale (POS) payment systems, enterprise networking solutions and client/server software. Phoenix-based Hypercom sells its products in more than 50 countries worldwide. Hypercom consists of four divisions: Hypercom POS US/Canada, Hypercom International, Hypercom Network Systems and Hypercom Manufacturing Resources.

Certain matters discussed within this news release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although management of Hypercom believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be attained. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include industry, competitive and technological changes; risks associated with international operations and foreign currency fluctuations; the composition, timing and size of orders from and shipments to major customers; inventory obsolescence; market acceptance of new products and other risks detailed from time to time in Hypercom’s SEC reports, including the company’s prospectus dated Nov. 13, 1997.


Federated Settles

Federated Department Stores announced yesterday it has settled its improperly filed credit reaffirmation cases with 20 state attorneys general. Federated settled on 13,500 affirmations, issuing $4 million in reimbursements to 10,000 customers in July of last year and releasing about $1.5 million yesterday to 3,500 additional debtors. As part of yesterday’s agreement Federated also agreed to pay $2.5 million to the states and fund a special consumer education fund.


Up For Sale

Beneficial Corporation told shareholders yesterday it is evaluating “tactical and strategic alternatives” including a merger or sale of the company. The announcement follows last week’s agreement to sell off Beneficial’s Canadian holdings to Associates First Capital. Household International promptly expressed interest yesterday in acquiring the consumer finance concern. The news drove Beneficial’s stock price 37% higher yesterday to close at nearly $113 per share.


First Data & Avco Sign

First Data Retail Management Services, a unit of First Data Corporation, and California-based Avco Financial Services today announced a three-year processing agreement for Avco’s private label card portfolio. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, effective Jan. 1, 1998, First Data will provide cardholder and merchant data processing and other card portfolio management services.

“Continuing our relationship with First Data reflects our belief in their commitment to deliver superior processing services and innovative technology to help us achieve our goals for our customers,” said Mary Sikes, vice president of marketing, Avco Financial Services.

“We are pleased that Avco has selected First Data as a strategic partner for its card processing needs,” said Bill Ott, president, First Data Retail Management Services. “This new agreement is evidence of the confidence Avco has in our ability to deliver innovative technology and new products and services to help our clients grow their private label market share and maximize their profits.”

Avco Financial Services, Inc., based in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., based in Providence, R.I. Avco is dedicated to providing a variety of quality products and services to satisfy the financial and insurance needs of a worldwide audience. Avco has over 1,200 branch offices in 11 countries around the world. The Finance Operation offers secured and unsecured consumer loans, real estate loans and purchases installment contracts offered through retail dealers, such as appliance and furniture stores. This operation also engages in commercial finance programs. The Insurance Operation, Avco Insurance Services, offers credit insurance, auto and renters insurance and other life insurance products to consumers of the Finance Operation and to independent financial institutions. Textron is a $10.5 billion global, multi-industry company with market-leading operations in Aircraft, Automotive, Industrial and Finance.

First Data Retail Management Services delivers specialized credit transaction processing to the private label card industry. It provides retailers and financial institutions clients with innovative, end-to-end solutions that allow them to stimulate and increase sales, enhance revenue and grow market share.

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 stored value card at the point of sale or over the Internet; by check or wire money. For further information about First Data, please visit the Internet at [www.firstdatacorp.com][1].

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


Internet Cardholder Services Released

Incurrent Corp. announced yesterday the general availability of the company’s Internet Cardholder Services package for payment card issuers.

ICS allows card-issuing institutions to move customer service and account management onto the World Wide Web quickly, easily, and with minimal capital investment. The announcement comes in the wake of Bank of America’s unveiling of web-based cardholder services (www.bankamerica.com), and the conclusion recently by Zona Research that card issuers reduce service costs from dollars to pennies per transaction by moving customer service activity onto the Internet.

“BofA recognizes the opportunities presented to payment card issuers by the Internet,” commented Mark Betz, Incurrent’s president and CEO, “and they’ve responded with a feature-rich site that offers useful tools to cardholders. What we have done is to make it possible for any issuer to move cardholder services online for much less than the costs of internal development.”

Previously, the ICS team at Incurrent had built a pioneering cardholder services website for Block Financial Corp.’s WebCard Visa in 1995. “Knowing both sides of the issue, payment cards and technology, gives us a unique perspective,” Betz said, “and we’ve applied that to our products.”

ICS is a complete package including software, the services of top site designers, backoffice integration, and secure 24×7 operations. A central component is CardSite 1.1, Incurrent’s leading-edge website application for cardholder services and account access. Standard features include Cardholder Mailbox, statement browsing with inline expense reports, export of categorized transactions to Money and Quicken, searches and reporting tools, email reminders, and much more. The company maintains a fully operational ICS installation for demonstration purposes. Interested parties can log on at .

“The key benefit of the ICS program is that it allows issuers to move online when it makes business sense to do so, without the risk of new technology development,” noted Betz. Issuers that prefer to operate the site internally can license the software and take advantage of the company’s infrastructure consulting services. Incurrent’s experts will assist in network design, server installation, testing, and staff training, enabling a painless rollout of the issuer’s Internet presence.


Currency Conversion Error

As of February 11, more than 2,000 Disney on Ice customers have received credits to their credit card accounts for purchases of show merchandise that were inadvertently overcharged, according to Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of the Disney on Ice touring shows.

The error occurred when the credit card processor incorrectly converted Canadian dollar purchases as U.S. dollar purchases.  This affected customers of Disney on Ice — The Spirit of Pocahontas in Vancouver and Disney on Ice — Beauty and the Beast in Montreal and Toronto.

“The problem was human error on the part of our credit card processor and we have issued credits back to our credit card customers,” explained Mike Ruch, Chief Financial Officer of Feld Entertainment in Vienna, Va., USA. “We regret any inconvenience this mistake caused our customers.  We also encourage any customer who does not receive the credit within the next seven working days to contact Feld Entertainment at 800-755-1530.”