Outsourcing Picks Sherman Financial

Outsourcing Solutions Inc. (OSI), the nation’s largest receivables management company, announced that it has selected the Sherman Financial Group, LLC of New York as its exclusive agent for the purchase of distressed consumer debt.

Under the terms of the affiliation, Sherman Financial will manage the acquisition of debt and OSI will purchase and service it, primarily through its Account Portfolios, Inc. division. The firm will purchase consumer debt from a variety of industries, including credit card, health care, student loans, telecommunications and utilities.

Bryan Faliero, OSI Senior Vice President of Portfolio Operations, noted that the joint effort would further expand OSI’s already significant portfolio management capabilities. “Sherman has extensive experience in capital markets and asset acquisition. Its expertise, combined with OSI’s receivables management capabilities, make this affiliation an important part of our continuing growth. Together we will be better able to structure transactions for various types of distressed assets with flexible terms that recognize sellers specific needs,” Faliero said.

Sherman Financial’s managing director, Benjamin Navarro, said that as OSI’s exclusive debt acquisition affiliate it would develop and manage relationships with financial companies nationwide. “Sherman specializes in structuring transactions that address the unique situations faced by sellers of distressed debt,” Navarro said. “Our affiliation with OSI enhances our ability to focus on client needs and offer competitive pricing and superior service.”

OSI was formed in September 1995 by McCown De Leeuw & Co., a private equity firm with offices in New York and Menlo Park, California, to become one of the leading companies in the highly fragmented and rapidly consolidating credit collections industry. In addition to Atlanta-based Account Portfolios, Inc., it has acquired The Continental Alliance, Seattle, a contingent collection agency; A.M. Miller, Minneapolis, a contingent collection agency; Payco American Corp., Milwaukee, a multi-line firm providing contingent collections and outsourcing services to credit grantors in a wide range of industries; Accelerated Bureau of Collections, Englewood, Colorado, a contingent collection agency; and North Shore Agency, Great Neck, New York, one of the largest providers of letter series collection and billing services to direct marketers, utilities and cable companies. OSI also has initiated a tender offer to acquire The Union Corporation, Charleston, South Carolina, which operates collection agencies and provides credit usage and receivables management outsourcing services to major corporations.


AT&T Surge

‘); } else { document.write(“); } //–> AT&T Universal is exiting the card issuing business with an impressive year-end surge. According to fourth quarter portfolio data gathered Monday by Bankcard Update/CardData, Universal’s receivables grew nearly 8% in the fourth quarter to $15.3 billion. For the first three quarters of 1997 AT&T posted a meager 5% YTD increase. Universal also posted a 4% quarterly gain in gross accounts and a 7.5% increase in cards-in-force.

               AT&T UNIVERSAL FOURTH QUARTER 1997 STATS (12-31-97)
          RECV      Q-VOL     YTD-VOL   ACCTS     ACTVS     CIF
AT&T      $15.3b    $8.0b     $27.7b    19.7m     N-R      24.2m
     recv-receivables; vol-volume; accts-accounts; actvs-actives;
     Source CardWeb, Inc.’s Bankcard Update/CardData


PinnacleSET Expands Security

Hypercom Corp. Monday announced plans to provide hardware-based security engines from Atalla Corp. with Hypercom’s PinnacleSET software.

Hypercom’s Pinnacle suite of Internet electronic commerce software products incorporates software-based security based on the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) Protocol, the emerging standard spearheaded by Visa and MasterCard.

Hypercom also plans to make available Atalla’s PayMaster/PCI Internet Security Processor. Atalla, at Booth 222, RSA Data Security Conference, is a leading provider of hardware-based security products for private networks, the public networks and the Internet/intranet arena.

Introduced in September by Hypercom, the PinnacleSET suite leverages Hypercom’s client/server software product line, the Pinnacle Transaction Environment. PinnacleSET, built on Release 1.0 of SET, will work with a greater range of payment cards and SET applications than any other SET product now available. PinnacleSET runs on platforms such as Windows NT, Sun Solaris, HP-UX and Tandem NSK.

Hypercom is a leading supplier of point-of-sale (POS) payment systems, enterprise networking solutions and client/server software.

“As electronic commerce grows, security is crucial to establishing and maintaining confidence of all parties involved, including banks, merchants, processors and consumers,” said Ted Cole, vice president, Hypercom’s Pinnacle Software Group.

“This hardware solution significantly increases the performance of encryption operations of SET transactions. As a result, customers can achieve new levels of transaction throughput and speed for financial payments.”

“This step brings together leaders in their respective markets,” said Gary Sabo, vice president, marketing, Atalla Corp. “We are excited about working with Hypercom because of the significant merchant acceptance of its products, worldwide presence, quality of products and commitment to providing customers with the lowest total cost of ownership.”

Atalla PayMaster/PCI Internet Security Processor

Atalla’s PayMaster/PCI Internet Security Processor provides a full onboard crypto-subsystem that fortifies and accelerates all SET security processing. Specialized hardware security engines from Atalla off-load the burden of public-key cryptography from the server CPU and free up additional cycles for the SET payment application.

Atalla products enhance PinnacleSET performance, while also helping safeguard sensitive information such as cryptographic keys using physically secure hardware. In addition, Atalla’s PayMaster/PCI adds robust key management and key typing for SET transactions. These capabilities help eliminate the possibility of keys being used for more than one purpose and minimize the risk of a so-called “backdoor” attack on the system.


Atalla’s PayMaster/PCI Internet Security Processor will be available with the PinnacleSET software suite by the second quarter of 1998.

The PinnacleSET Suite

Merchants using PinnacleSET client/server software products gain advantages for the use of the Internet for transaction modes such as loyalty, chip card and stored-value applications.

PinnacleSET applications currently include

— PinnacleSET Wallet, which resides on the cardholder’s computer.     The Wallet can carry the logo of banks, financial processors or     merchants, which can provide additional branding and     advertising opportunities.

— PinnacleSET POS, a point-of-sale application linking merchants     to their customers and financial processors for quick, secure,     easy payments.

— PinnacleSET Gateway, a gateway application, which connects the     merchant to the payment processing system for credit card     authorization.

— PinnacleSET CA, a certification authority server, which helps     generate and manage digital ID certificates for secure     electronic financial transactions and digital rights     management.

Atalla Corp.

Atalla (a Tandem Company) brings nearly 25 years of experience securing commerce over private networks to the public networks and the Internet/intranet arena. The company’s products include industry-leading hardware-based security processors for the Internet, intranet and the bank transfer networks, POS/POE (point-of-sale/point-of-entry) credit/debit payment terminals, customer authorization and PIN selection terminals, and secure enrollment products for banking and government applications.

An estimated 70 percent of all ATM transactions in North America (estimated value $1.4 trillion daily) are secured by Atalla’s specialized security processor products. Atalla has headquarters at 2304 Zanker Road, San Jose, Calif. 95131. Phone 408/435-8850.

Hypercom Pinnacle Software

The Hypercom Pinnacle Transaction Environment high-performance, client/server software operates under Microsoft Windows and UNIX. Pinnacle preserves host integrity while providing advanced payment capabilities and value-added services for networks.

Hypercom Corp.

Hypercom Corp. 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.


MultiCom Signs Greenleaf

Greenleaf Technologies Corp. announced that it has entered into an agreement with MultiCom Services LLC , an Austin, Texas privately held service bureau and call receipt center for product orders.

MultiCom will provide GLFC with a basic, turnkey platform for credit card billing, capturing customer order information and verifying credit card purchases on-line. In addition, MultiCom’s Customer service division will interact with software supplied by GLFC to generate unlock codes to access PC based games initially distributed via the Internet that will be provided to customers upon approval of credit card purchases.

Allan King, president and CEO of MultiCom, stated, “Our initial relationship with Greenleaf will primarily entail building and maintaining customer databases for customer calls and orders. However, we believe that as this strategic relationship grows we will promote, market and incorporate Greenleaf’s proprietary high tech line of products and services to our existing and expanding client base of companies and organizations on behalf of Greenleaf.”

MultiCom Services provides a high quality, comprehensive package of turnkey telecommunications solutions for full customer support for its clients.

GLFC owns three high tech products to be marketed through various strategic relationships CommShield(TM), DIGITREK(TM) and MusiKey(TM), CommShield(TM) provides access protection for telecommunications networks. DIGITREK(TM) encrypts and decrypts information on CDs and DVDs. MusiKey(TM) allows major music distributors to control and secure the electronic distribution of new song titles.

GLFC, which is not presently a “reporting” company, intends to file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission as soon as practicable following the completion of the company’s audited financials.

For more information, please call Richard Margulies or Eric Low at CMI Public Relations Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Creative Media International Inc. (OTC BB CTVM), at 732/225-1234; fax 732/225-1230; Email NYCMI@aol.com; or via the Internet [www.CMICNN.com][1].

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


Beyond SET

A global consortium of Internet commerce firms released a complete specification for the ‘Open Trading Protocol’ yesterday. The specification has been posted at otp.org for public comment and pilot implementations. The ‘OTP’ standard enables a consistent framework for multiple forms of e-commerce, ensuring an easy-to-use and consistent consumer purchasing experience regardless of the payment instrument or software and hardware product used. The protocol builds on ‘XML’ and supports ‘SET’.


CertAuthority Solution Introduced

CertCo Monday introduced the CertAuthority Solution, a comprehensive, high- assurance Certification Authority product suite consisting of the Root CertAuthority and the Commerce CertAuthority.  A Certification Authority (CA) issues digital certificates that bind identity or other information to an electronic key used to encrypt and sign digital information. By issuing a certificate, the CA confirms the accuracy of the certificate information.

“The business practice driven and cost effective risk management techniques fundamental to the CertCo Root CertAuthority and Commerce CertAuthority will accelerate the availability of digital certification services provided by well established trusted third parties, such as banks and other financial institutions, government agencies, telecommunications providers, and corporations,” said CertCo Chairman, Peter Freund.  “Trust institutions can now build a global  infrastructure which can support high- value secure electronic trading among companies  not previously known to each other.  This opens up opportunities for banks and other trust institutions to profitably offer services valuable to corporations and other organizations.”

According to Jim Bidzos, President of RSA, “RSA is pleased that CertCo has chosen our technology for their high quality product offerings. We applaud their role in enabling electronic commerce for trust institutions.”

The CertCo Root CertAuthority(TM) and Commerce CertAuthority(TM) utilizes hardware-based cryptography and an implementation based upon time-honored banking practices and risk management techniques to effectively manage all levels of a digital certificate trust hierarchy.  A root certification authority plays a central role in a public key infrastructure by certifying other certification authorities.  The CertCo Root CertAuthority(TM) provides trust institutions with the ability to establish the policies and procedures for creating and managing a hierarchy of trusted certification authorities. The CertCo Commerce CertAuthority enables an organization to issue certificates that establish the binding of its trading partners, customers and employees to their electronic identities.  The Commerce CertAuthority(TM) can be used to issue digital certificates for use with web products such as browsers, servers and secure messaging (e.g., S/MIME) applications.

The CertAuthority Solution(TM) employs sophisticated cryptographic solutions for the management of the root key and its certificate, certificate issuance and certificate revocation.  CertCo CertAuthority(TM) utilizes a unique, split-key cryptographic technique which CertCo calls distributed Multi-Step Signing(TM), in which the private key is split into fragments and stored in tamper-evident hardware devices to help protect against the risk of a compromise.  Joint action by a quorum of designated individuals with these fragments is required to approve certificate requests.  The multiple levels of certificate approval built into the CertAuthority(TM) certificate issuance process help ensure that only authorized certificates are issued. CertAuthority(TM) provides flexibility to assign different individuals the responsibility to input, verify, and approve requests.  Organizations adjust the degree of control over the certification practice, creating optimal operational procedures and minimizing the risk of fraudulent certification.

“Secure and efficient electronic commerce will become a reality only when established trust institutions create the same level of trust for electronic transactions that they previously created for paper transactions,” said Charles S. Walton, Jr., CertCo’s Chief Operating Officer.  “Only established trust institutions can do the job as they have the standing, the capital, the risk management and information technology skills the job requires.  CertCo will be providing The CertAuthority Solution(TM) to trust institutions as they transform the Internet arena.”

“The real impediment to electronic commerce is lack of trust,” explained Jay T. Simmons, Senior Vice President at CertCo.  “Existing models for electronic commerce leave transactions vulnerable to fraud, theft, or repudiation.  The CertAuthority(TM) model of business-practice driven certification provides a straightforward way for trusted third parties to provide liability bearing certification services.  Banks and other trust institutions,” Mr. Simmons continued, “are obvious candidates to become those trusted third parties, given their historic fiduciary and risk management roles.”

“The adoption of CertCo’s CertAuthority Solution(TM) by Digital Signature Trust Company, a subsidiary of Zions First National Bank, exemplifies a new model for global electronic commerce in which banks and other trusted third parties become the providers of digital certification services,” Scott Lowry, President of DST commented, “DST has adopted the CertAuthority Solution as it is one of the best solutions there is for managing the trust hierarchy on which electronic commerce must rely.  This is the case because it provides secure split-key technology.”

Selected based upon the security and the flexibility provided, MasterCard and VISA are using the CertCo Root CertAuthority(TM) to establish the global infrastructure for Secure Electronic Transactions (SET).  “The certification authority requirements for our SET infrastructure are among the most demanding in the world of commerce,” said Steve Herz, Senior Vice President for Internet Commerce at Visa International.  “CertCo’s technology was selected because it met these crucial demands and will play a key role in the development and global acceptance of SET.”

“Root CertAuthority offers an ingenious solution to the complex task of managing authentication for multiple brands in an electronic commerce environment,” said Steve Mott, Senior Vice President for Electronic Commerce/New Ventures at MasterCard.  “This technology enables SET to provide a secure infrastructure for the use of credit cards on the Internet, and that sets the stage for explosive growth in that marketplace.”

“HP will implement CertCo’s technology and products as part of our overall strategy to establish a secure network infrastructure for our customers” said Doug McGowan, director of Hewlett Packard’s International Cryptography Framework.  “It is critical to provide a high-level trust model where responsibilities can be geographically distributed — that is what the CertCo solution provides.”

CertCo has also deployed The CertAuthority Solution(TM) for the State of Utah to establish a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) designed to encourage the use of digital signatures and electronic commerce in both government and business.  The system has been used to license Digital Signature Trust Company (DST), a subsidiary of Zions First National Bank, as the first Certification Authority in Utah.  The first planned use for the Utah PKI is an electronic court filing system for legal documents.  “The provision of digital certification services is a natural and logical extension of our role as a trusted third party for the people of Utah,” said Ken Allen, Digital Signature Coordinator for the Utah Department of Commerce.  “The CertCo solution does not require us to change the way we conduct our business; instead, it enables us to extend existing processes onto the Internet with an extremely high level of confidence.”

About CertCo

CertCo enables banks, corporations and other trust institutions to build a worldwide trust infrastructure to support high-value, secure electronic commerce.  The company combines its experience in cryptography, risk management, law, technology and banking with the expertise of its accomplished management team to deliver secure and cost-effective electronic business solutions.  These business solutions, which include the distribution of risk, enable banks and other trust institutions to open doors to electronic business and to offer profitable services to other organizations.

Established in 1996, CertCo is headquartered in New York City with regional offices in Albuquerque (NM), Cambridge (MA), Salt Lake City (Utah), Washington, DC and has representatives in the United Kingdom.

CertCo, The CertAuthority Solution, CertAuthority, Root CertAuthority, Commerce CertAuthority and Multi-Step Signing are trademarks of CertCo LLC.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies.


Digital Sig & Datakey Shake Hands

Digital Signature Trust Company (DST) of Salt Lake City and Minnesota-based Datakey Inc. announced Monday an agreement to provide digital certificates to users of Datakey’s SignaSURE line of information security products.  DST is a provider of digital signature authentication and certification services to business and government.  Datakey develops smart card-enabled electronic information security solutions.  Their SignaSURE product is fully integrated with both Netscape’s and Microsoft’s implementation of secure e-mail (S/MIME) and SSL. SignaSURE is also available for use with Netscape’s recently announced form signing utility.

Under the agreement, DST’s digital certificate service will be available to those SignaSURE users who do not wish to issue their own certificates.  In addition, Digital Signature Trust will include fields in the X.509 certificates which signify that the keys associated with certificates are held in a smart card token.  Therefore users can easily recognize the use of token-based security, and its higher security benefit.  The agreement also covers DST’s use of Datakey’s SignaSURE information security products into their service bureau installations, as well as being made available to DST’s customers.

“Datakey now offers SignaSURE product users several options in obtaining their digital certificates,” said Carl P. Boecher, Datakey’s president and CEO.  “Digital Signature Trust Company offers our customers digital certificates from several technologies to meet their particular user needs. This is a definite advantage to a corporate customer.  In addition, as a single-source supplier, we can bundle digital certificates with our SignaSURE systems.”

Scott Lowry, president of Digital Signature Trust Company, said, “DST is committed to providing Datakey’s customers with the most comprehensive digital certificate solutions available for secure electronic and smart card-based commerce.  We are thrilled to be working closely with Datakey in offering digital certificate solutions to Datakey’s customers, specifically where secure, affordable portability of the private key is a requirement.  And we are looking forward to introducing the SignaSURE smart card solutions to our service bureaus and our customers.”

Datakey’s SignaSURE line includes three end-user products.  SignaSURE CIP adds a cryptographic smart card or smart key to software-only information security systems designed with RSA’s PKCS#11 or Microsoft’s CryptoAPI interfaces.  SignaSURE NC is a Datakey product that bundles the CIP product with Netscape Communicator(R) for secure e-mail and secure file exchange applications.  SignaSURE ESS is an enterprise-wide system solution that includes secure e-mail, secure file exchange, access/read/modify/file privileges, seamless security with office suites and Microsoft Explorer.  It offers enterprise-controlled key backup and a complete public key infrastructure.  All of the SignaSURE products employ public key cryptography and use cryptographic tokens for high, two-factor security.  In the Datakey system solutions, digital certificates are securely stored on the cryptographic token, thereby offering the user the added benefit of credential portability.  SignaSURE allows users to download DST’s digital certificates onto smart cards.

About Digital Signature Trust Company

Digital Signature Trust Company (DST) is a subsidiary of Zions First National Bank under parent company Zions Bancorporation (Nasdaq ZION), which was named the #1 performing bank in the nation by U.S. Banker magazine in 1997.  DST is a premier provider of Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology services.  DST issues, stores and verifies digital certificates, which are used in the digital “signing” of electronic documents and electronic transactions.  DST provides secure certification services, including commercial Certification Authority (CA), service bureau CA and repository services, among others.

As the world’s first licensed CA, DST issues digital certificates with technologies from CertCo, Entrust, GlobeSet, Netscape and Xcert based on the RSA set of algorithms (RSA Data Security Inc. is a subsidiary of Security Dynamics Technologies Inc.).  DST also has the following strategic technology partners  Datakey, SAIC and Surety Technologies.  For more information, call DST at 801-524-8673 or see its Web site at

About Datakey

Datakey Inc. is an international supplier of electronic products and services.  The company provides products, subsystems and systems solutions to record, store and transmit electronic information.  Datakey is developing products and systems directed to the information security market which will enable user identification and authentication, secure data exchange and information validation.  It also provides OEM products consisting of proprietary memory keys, cards and other custom-shaped tokens that serve as a convenient way to carry electronic information and are packaged to survive in portable environments.

Shares of Datakey’s common stock are traded on the Nasdaq/NNM under the symbol DKEY.  Web address is


3GI Lands World Congress of IT

The World Congress on Information Technology announced at the National Press Club Monday that it has selected 3-G International, Inc. (3GI) to provide a multiple applications smart card system for the prestigious World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) biennial conference, June 21-24 in Fairfax County, Va. As part of the arrangement, 3GI has become an official Gold Sponsor of the Event.

“3GI is honored to have the opportunity to deliver our smart card technology for an international event of this caliber. The speakers and attendees will be a who’s who in information technology and for many of them, the World Congress will be their first hands-on exposure to multiple application smart card technology,” commented 3GI CEO Thomas L. Gregg at the National Press Club.

The World Congress on Information Technology and 3GI are working jointly to determine the full functionality of the card system. Initial applications will include authentication and access to internet accounts set up by the Congress, an interface with WCIT information kiosks, and conference access and registration support. Other potential applications include stored value payments, emergency medical identification, and electronic ticketing to promotional events.

Giesecke and Devrient America, a world leader in smart card manufacturing, is partnering with 3GI to sponsor the event and deliver the card system. G&D will provide IC Cards with its STARCOS operating system.

“3GI has a special interest in this Year’s event since it will take place in Virginia and we are one of the fastest growing technology companies in the State. We look forward to showcasing smart cards and the capabilities of our company to the global technology leaders who will be attending,” said Mr. Gregg. 3GI was recently designated the fifth fastest growing technology company in Virginia in the Deloitte and Touche “Fast Fifty” competition. 3GI placed 36th in the nation in the “Fast 500.”

The World Congress on Information Technology is a biennial event, dating back to 1978. Past hosts include Bilbao, Spain in 1996 and Yokohama, Japan in 1994. This prestigious event has been awarded to Taiwan in the year 2000 and Australia in the year 2002. The Information Technology Association of America will host the event in partnership with the World Information Technology Alliance. It will be held at George Mason University in Fairfax County, Va.

3-G International, Inc. (3GI) is the largest U.S.-based smart card systems integrator and smart card software development company. 3GI has offices in Springfield and Williamsburg, Va., Honolulu, Shenzhen, PRC, and London. 3GI has provided software and integration services for numerous other conferences including the 1997 Presidential Inauguration, the 1997 CardTech/SecureTech Conference, and the 1997 Smart Card Forum Annual Meeting. 3GI provides smart card software and comprehensive smart card integration services to government and industry.


Library Card

The first smart card system to be implemented in a public library in the U.S. will go on line this month with the opening of a new library facility in Hickory, NC. In addition to using the smart card system to check out library materials, the card can be used for cashless transactions for copies, fees and printing costs from the library’s Internet centers. The Diebold reloadable smart card system utilizes a ‘Diebold Value Terminal’. The cards include a photo of the patron and barcodes used for the circulation system. Community leaders say they are considering expanding the system to offer public transit and utility payments.


Brit Telecom & VeriSign Sign

![][1] British Telecommunications plc (BT) today announced that it is to introduce a range of digital certificate services for secure internet access and electronic commerce.

Designed to give customers greater confidence to communicate and trade electronically, digital certificates provide electronic identification for use on the Internet, and act very much like a driving license, company identity card or account card.

Aimed at both consumers and businesses, the UK digital certificate services will be established by BT and VeriSign Inc. — the leading US-based provider of digital certificate solutions — following an agreement between the two companies.

BT will begin to offer digital certificate services in spring this year as part of its expanding electronic commerce portfolio. Using public key cryptography, digital certificates allow confidential information such as credit card details to be sent securely over open networks.

These services will also enable users to send and receive digitally signed and encrypted email as well as check that messages have not been altered en route either intentionally or accidentally. Other uses of digital certificates include access to home banking facilities, online trading services and private information on corporate networks as well as the elimination of multiple passwords for access to Web sites.

The two companies will work closely to provide digital certification services for BT’s wide range of customers including  financial services, healthcare, membership organizations, corporate intranet users, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and online services. The digital certification services will also form a key element of BT’s electronic commerce services.

BT, working with VeriSign, will establish a certification authority in the UK to authenticate customers, issue and manage digital certificates. Both companies will collaborate to develop legal practices and policies to gain and maintain compliance with UK- and European-based regulations and standards as they evolve.

Also, BT will become the first European company to sell digital certificates bearing the BT and VeriSign brands which are fully compatible with and expand the VeriSign Trust Network (VTN(TM)), a truly global network of compatible digital certificates for use on the Internet.

The VTN provides businesses and consumers worldwide with the ability to use digital certificates within a corporate network for access and email as well as on a global scale to communicate securely with others outside the corporate network and to access a variety of web sites.

Simon Champion, BT’s Head of Electronic Commerce, said, “BT’s introduction of these advanced services will help bring credibility to the emerging e-commerce market and give customers and suppliers greater confidence in conducting business electronically.”

“The agreement between BT and VeriSign combines BT’s strong UK presence, routes to market and network security expertise with VeriSign’s technical expertise and in-depth knowledge of digital certificate operating procedures and processes required for these services.”

Stratton Sclavos, President and Chief Executive Officer of VeriSign, said, “We are extremely pleased that BT has chosen to work with VeriSign to offer digital certificate services to business and individual customers in the UK. We could think of no better organization with which to form an alliance to promote the use of digital certificates to enable secure transactions and communications over corporate networks and the Internet.”

Both business customers and consumers will be able to purchase digital certificate services via BT’s web site at , beginning in the spring.

After this initial launch, BT plans to work with VeriSign to develop enhancements to the product portfolio. BT envisages the introduction of digital certificates for specific communities of interest, higher-value electronic commerce transactions, digital timestamping, notarization and archiving.

VeriSign is a US-based company with international digital certificate processing centers through its subsidiaries and affiliates in Japan, South Africa and Europe with more than 1.5 million customers worldwide. The VeriSign Trust Network provides for a globally interoperable digital certificate infrastructure through a trusted network of Certification Authorities throughout the world including BT. For more information on VeriSign, visit the company’s Web site at .

[1]: /graphic/bt/bt3.gif


Revolving Credit Declines

For the first time since May 1993 overall consumer credit has declined, according to figures released by the Federal Reserve Friday. Consumer credit outstanding fell at a 4% seasonally adjusted rate in November, following an 11.25% rate of increase in October. Total consumer credit dropped from $1,235.2 billion in October to $1,231.0 billion in November. Revolving credit is growing at an annual rate of -4.1% versus +10.7% one year ago. In terms of actual dollars, total revolving credit has risen from $495 billion to $528.1 billion over the past twelve months. Between October and November revolving credit actually dropped $1.8 billion, the largest single month drop since the stock market crash of November 1987.

                                 REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL
       Nov 97  Oct97  Sep97  Aug97 Jul97  Jun97  May97  Apr97  Mar97 Nov96     
%GRWTH -4.1    8.0    6.2    8.0  9.4    4.2    4.6    6.9    0.5   10.7
$OWED 528.1   529.9  526.4  523.7 520.2  516.2  514.3  512.4 509.5  495.0
Source Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 1/09/98


Delta SkyMiles Soars

The ‘American Express Delta Airlines SkyMiles Optima’ card grew 140% last year to become the nation’s largest cobranded airline bank credit card program, according to a research report released today by Brittain Associates of Atlanta. Brittain says its annual study showed the ‘AmEx Delta’ card growing from 1.1 million cardholders to 2.8 million during the past twelve months. The next largest program is the Citibank/American Airlines AAdvantage card with 2.7 million cards-in-force. The First Chicago/United Airlines program logs in at third place with about 1.4 million cardholders. Brittain’s study, involving about 8,000 consumers, also confirms that Continental, America West and British Airways lost marketshare during the past year. Of little surprise was the finding that the majority of cobranded airline bank credit cards are purely convenience users charging $15,000 and $20,000 annually.