OBI Consortium to Meet

OBI Consortium members will meet on December 16-17, 1997 for the 2nd Roundtable Forum, to be held in Boston, MA. The focus of the two day meeting will be on refining the scope of the existing OBI standard, finalizing the OBI certification process and reviewing case studies detailing the significant progress being made by member companies in their business-to-business commerce efforts. The OBI standard which provides a uniform approach to high-volume, low-dollar purchases over the Internet, was first released in June 1997 and has quickly evolved to become the industry’s defacto business-to-business Internet commerce standard.

At the Roundtable Forum Meeting, members will be discussing long term strategic planning with particular emphasis on the evolvement of the OBI standard. The strength of the OBI standard will be significantly enhanced by defining and developing new standards that cover other areas of the procurement process. Members will also be drafting version 1.1 of the OBI standard, to be released in Q1, 1998. President of the OBI Consortium, Neal Casteel of National Semiconductor noted, “The OBI Consortium is a cooperative forum that provides members with ongoing technical innovation, support for pilot projects and most importantly a real voice in the future direction of the OBI standard itself.” He added, “There has been a significant shift in the dynamics of how the OBI Consortium is operating as working groups made up from member companies are increasingly becoming responsible for the day to day running of the Consortium. The result is that the combined needs of the buying, selling, requisitioning, technology and payment organizations represented in the OBI Consortium membership are all being met.”

What is the value of membership in the OBI Consortium? Doug Bailey, Business Development Manager, Electronic Commerce, BOC Gases explains, “BOC gases has worked closely with our customers over several years to develop electronic commerce services. With the value of supply chain management and Internet-based electronic commerce becoming more widely adopted, the need for a standard process is clear. As a member of the OBI Consortium, BOC can stay abreast of leading edge thinking while continuing to enhance our capabilities.” Hewlett-Packard’s EC-EDI Strategic Planning Manager, Sandy Whitson added, ” The OBI Consortium creates the opportunity to define business fundamentals and technical requirements necessary for business-to-business electronic commerce. This should enable buyers and sellers to more easily adopt and quickly attain benefits from electronic commerce.” Another new member Rohm and Haas Company, clearly stated the advantages of OBI membership, “The OBI standard gives vendors and customers a generic solution to interfacing over the Internet that still allows for some freedom in how each party would like their systems to work” stated Laurie Mestres, Business Analyst.

Internet business-to-business commerce is entering a new phase of corporate commitment as members are able to detail the bottom-line value of OBI-compliant applications. For example, OBI capability was a necessary requirement for Kinko’s Inc., the copy-center and office services chain, when they selected Actra’s BuyerXpert for use on its extranet, soon to be handling over 50,000 transactions a month. Similarly, Shell Oil have identified many benefits of the OBI standard, not least its ability to act as a catalog aggregator. The first real proof of concept has been very successfully achieved by the first live pilot scheme between Office Depot and Motorola, using Intelysis software. Currently transactions are coming from 3 Motorola sites and trial users have been quick to endorse the new scheme and particularly like the added control they have. The dynamic nature of the Office Depot catalogue allows end-users at Motorola to search, select, obtain pricing, check on-hand inventory, backorders and status information on existing orders.

New OBI Consortium members Bellcore, BOC Gases, Dun & Bradstreet, Fisher Scientific, Graybar, Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, and Rohm and Haas Company have joined 33 other Fortune 500 companies including Actra, American Express, Ford Motor Company, G.E., IBM, Microsoft, Texas Instruments and Visa.

The Open Buying on the Internet (OBI) Consortium is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing open standards for business-to-business Internet commerce. Membership in the Consortium is open to buying and selling organizations, technology companies, financial institutions, and other interested parties on an annual fee basis. The Consortium provides a forum for standards development, education, and compliance certification. For more information on the OBI Consortium, visit [www.supplyworks.com/obi][1].

[1]: http://www.supplyworks.com/obi

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Visa Check in the Midwest

NationsBank announced yesterday it will convert its ‘MasterMoney’ cardholders to ‘VISA Check’ cards. The conversion is part of NationsBank’s acquisition of Boatmen’s Bank and affects more than half a million cardholders. The region involved includes MO, IL, IA, AR, KS, OK and NM. NationsBank also announced it has selected VISA’s DPS for operational support in the midwest.

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Hypercom Names Asia Point Man

Hypercom Corporation continues to expand operations in Asia with the naming of Clive Cooper-Smith as Managing Director for Hypercom’s rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region. Cooper-Smith will be responsible for sales and operations, including Hypercom’s offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney.

Based in Phoenix, AZ, Hypercom is the leading supplier of point-of-sale (POS) payment systems, enterprise networking solutions and client/server software.

“With Hypercom’s rapidly growing business in China and increasing orders throughout Asia, we believe Clive Cooper-Smith’s experience and leadership will further strengthen Hypercom’s market position and our commitment to our many clients in the region,” said Jairo Gonzalez, President of Hypercom International, a division of Hypercom Corporation.

Before joining Hypercom, Cooper-Smith was CEO and General Manager for Advantage Groups, a New Zealand-based distributor of POS products for Asia. Previously, Cooper-Smith held several senior-level positions with personal computer application developer Ashton Tate, including General Manager in New Zealand, Marketing Director for Asia, and General Manager of Africa and Latin America Sales.

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Holiday Travel Exp Up 55%

The American Express Travel Index found that people will be spending 55.5 percent more this season on holiday travel compared with last year.

“With travel more affordable today, and consumers putting more and more of their disposable income, towards investments and leisure activities, it is not surprising to see such a dramatic increase in travel budgets, particularly during the holiday season when consumers want to see friends and family they haven’t seen all year, or simply want to reward themselves with a trip,” said Emelie Smith, vice president, Retail and Travel Industries Marketing, American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. (TRS).

Holiday travel budgets varied dramatically among survey respondents. For example, as with gift budgets, men will outspend women by almost 100 percent ($183 vs. $98). In addition, travelers with incomes over $50,000 expect to spend $313 on holiday travel, while those with incomes over $100,000 will spend an average of $718. Overall, consumers responding to the American Express study in 1996 reported spending approximately $90 on travel related expenses. This year, holiday travelers expect to spend $140. Compared with other items in the holiday budget, travel and entertaining showed the most growth, while spending on gifts and decorations remained flat.

The national survey of 800 consumers revealed that one in five (18 percent) Americans will be going out of town this holiday season. In all, travelers expect to be away for an average of six days. According to the American Express Travel Index, 76 percent of travelers are planning to spend the holiday season with family, while 8 percent will visit friends. Twenty-seven percent say they will travel by plane, while most will take the car (68 percent). Another 5 percent said they would travel by bus or train.

Who Is Doing the Most Traveling

According to the American Express Travel Index, most will spend the holidays at either mom’s or grandma’s. People between the ages of 18 to 44 will travel more than those 45 and over (20 percent vs. 15 percent). In addition, households earning $49,000 or less, are likely to stay at home compared with those earning $50,000 or more (32 percent will travel during the holidays vs. 57 percent). Compared with the rest of the nation, those living in the north central region of the U.S. will travel the most during the holidays (21 percent), followed by West Coast residents (18 percent), Southerners (16 percent) and Northeasterners (15 percent).

Paying for Holiday Travel

Flexibility continues to be important to consumers who will use a variety of payment methods for purchases this season, including holiday travel expenses. Once again, credit cards surpass checks as the second most popular form of payment cited by 48 percent of respondents to 40 percent for checks. Cash remains the preferred method of payment overall, cited by 84 percent of those surveyed.

“The popularity of credit cards this year can be attributed to the attractive rewards and consumer protection programs that help make credit cards more than just a payment vehicle,” said Emelie Smith. “In addition, fiscally responsible consumers are beginning to understand that the ability to consolidate travel, dining and shopping expenses, especially at a time of year when personal spending activity is at its highest, provides a great cash management value.”

American Express is welcome at stores, restaurants, hotels and service providers where Cardmembers spend on everything from health and beauty aids, to computers, to a weekend away. Current American Express research shows that based on the way Cardmembers use their American Express cards, Cardmembers can put 92 percent of their plastic spending on American Express. Presently, a fast-growing number of merchants worldwide welcome American Express with a new establishment accepting the Card every two minutes. Expanded merchant coverage, a greater number of cards and higher spending per Cardmember helped American Express Company post a third quarter net income which was 14 percent higher than the same period a year ago.

American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company — 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.

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Sun Kiosk Technology

Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Netsmart Technologies today announced plans to deliver Web-enabled kiosk and smart card solutions for the financial services industry based on the Sun Connect architecture and Netsmart’s SmartePay kiosk technology.

The addition of the fast growing kiosk delivery channel to the Sun Connect line up represents the latest move by Sun to integrate all retail delivery channels with the Internet for secure financial transactions via the Web. Sun has already announced call center, branch office and home banking/trading solutions for Sun Connect.

“Sun Connect momentum is building quickly with the addition of new delivery channels, all integrated through the Sun Connect framework,” said Rob Hall, vice president, worldwide financial services for Sun Microsystems Computer Company. “Netsmart brings two rapidly growing, strategic solutions to Sun Connect — self serve kiosks and smart card capabilities.”

The Netsmart Financial Services Kiosk is designed to run within the Sun Connect architecture, allowing a financial services organization to integrate kiosks with its other retail delivery channels via the Web, providing customers with a common look-and-feel across all channels, from kiosk to home banking to ATM. Netsmart’s CarteSmart system enables smart card solutions, particularly Java Card(TM)-based applications to run quickly and efficiently within the Sun Connect architecture.

“Kiosks are emerging as an important delivery channel for banks, securities firms and insurance companies, enabling self-serve capabilities that go beyond traditional ATM transactions,” said Len Luttinger, President of Netsmart Technologies Electronic Transaction Delivery Organization. “Bringing Netsmart’s Java(TM)-enabled SmartePay kiosks and smart card capabilities to the Sun Connect framework allows financial organizations to integrate kiosks through the Web-enabled infrastructure of Sun Connect and easily extend this important channel to customers.”

Netsmart Solutions

Netsmart’s SmartePay Financial Services Kiosk is a customer-activated terminal that can accept and validate currency, endorse checks, accept debit, credit and smart cards, and can scan documents, such as remittance forms. It is capable of dispensing both currency and debit cards.

With its array of peripheral devices, the Financial Services Kiosk is being used for applications as varied as utility bill payments, securities trading, or any application where it is necessary to convey complex instructions and/or significant amounts of information to the customer. It has been designed for installation at most locations including branch offices, building lobbies and shopping malls.

Netsmart’s CarteSmart System provides rapid development support for smart cards,including Java Card applications, for Netsmart’s kiosk solutions, as well as for other delivery channels, including future smart card devices for home banking.

Sun Connect

Sun Connect is a Java-based architecture that provides a complete and secure foundation for building and deploying Web-based financial services, allowing financial services organizations to exploit the Web as a powerful new delivery channel, reaching a new range of customers. Products on the Sun Connect architecture will run on any hardware and will support all industry-leading specifications for online transactions, including Open Financial Exchange (OFX) and other messaging specifications. Sun announced Sun Connect in June at the SIA conference in New York, where Sun and Discover Brokerage Direct demonstrated the world’s first OFX server, built on the Sun Connect architecture.

Netsmart Technologies (NASDAQ:NTST) is a software developer and systems integrator specializing in distributed network systems for the health, public sector and financial fields. Information about Netsmart’s products can be found on the World Wide Web at .

Since its inception in 1982, a single vision, “The Network The Computer(TM),” has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc., (NASDAQ:SUNW), to its position as a leading provider of hardware, software and services for establishing enterprise-wide intranets and expanding the power of the internet. With more than $8.5 billion in annual revenues, Sun can be found in more than 150 countries and on the World Wide Web at .

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Hypercom Signs Lynk Systems

Hypercom Corporation today announced that it has signed a $7 million contract with Lynk Systems, Inc. Based in Phoenix, AZ, Hypercom is a leading supplier of point-of-sale (POS) payment systems, enterprise networking solutions and client/server transaction processing software.

Under the terms of the 12-month agreement, Hypercom will supply Lynk with T7 Series POS terminals, primarily the T7P and T77. Hypercom also will provide PIN Pads, such as the S8 Secure PIN Pad, which is a cost-effective debit solution for all T7 series terminals. The total number of units involved exceeds 30,000.

Lynk will market the Hypercom POS solutions nationwide to its customers, which include hotels, restautants and retail outlets. Lynk also will provide all support services for Hypercom products. Hypercom backs its terminals with a best-in-industry five-year terminal warranty.

The contract represents a strengthening of the business relationship between Hypercom and fast-growing Lynk, best known as a single-source provider of electronic payment processing solutions. Based in Atlanta, Lynk has more than 200 management and technical personnel and 500-plus sales agents operating from 25 direct sales offices throughout the United States.

“In successful business relationships, momentum builds overtime.” said John Marshall, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Hypercom POS US/Canada. “Our association with Lynk to date clearly has been win-win. With the signing of this contract, Hypercom looks forward to increasing our contribution to Lynk’s success and vice versa.”

“Lynk continues to be a valued partner for Hypercom by being pro-active throughout the product cycle. Lynk works side-by-side with Hypercom to develop software that runs on our terminals and meets the needs of Lynk’s customers. Once solutions are ready, Lynk depolys and support them.” said Ed Davis, Vice President of Sales-Southeast Region, Hypercom POS US/Canada.

Lynk’s Vice President of Sales, Wayne Damron, said, “Hypercom believed in us early on and the cooperation between our two companies has helped propel our growth. Hypercom’s quality support and product line has aided in the distinct differentiation we offer our ever-expanding customer base.”

Lynk Product/Services

Lynk supports the payment processing needs of virtually all industry types. The Lynk product/service family includes credit card processing, ATM/debit card processing, check verification and guarantee, end user hardware sales and services, and ATM and Scrip terminal sales and service.

Hypercom Products

Members of Hypercom’s T7 Series of terminals, the T7P and T77 both have an integrated, modular printer. A thermal or friction printer is available on the T7P. A thermal, sprocket of friction printer is available on the T77. Both terminals also have a small footprint, easy-to-learn/use 35-key keyboard, under 10-second dial response time and vast memory, including 32k EPROM and base RAM of 256K RAM.

Hypercom’s S8 Secure PIN Pad can be configured in three ways — to support standalone and networked T7 Series terminals as well as electronic cash registers.

Lynk Systems, Inc.

Atlanta-based Lynk Systems, Inc. is an integrated provider of payment services, cash dispensing services and other related value-added products and services. Lynk operates using internally developed, proprietary processing systems and technologies and differentiates itself by focusing on a single source approach to serving its customers.

Lynk’s customers include small to mid-sized merchants in retail, restaurant, grocery and lodging enviornments. Lynk also enters into marketing relationships with independent distributors and financial institutions to handle the processing needs of their merchant bases. Lynk processes over 4.5 million transactions a month, providing payment processing solutions to over 35,000 merchants and 125 banks and cash advance services in over 5,000 locations nationwide.

Hypercom Corporation

Hypercom Corporation is a leading supplier of point-of-sale (POS) payment systems and enterprise networking solutions. The company also produces Pinnacle client/server transaction processing software. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, Hypercom’s products are sold in more than 50 countries worldwide. Hypercom Corporation consists of four divisions: Hypercom POS US/Canada, Hypercom International, Hypercom Network Systems and Hypercom Manufacturing Resources. Hypercom’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HYC”.

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IFS/CheckFree Solution

The Integrion Financial Network and CheckFree Corporation rolled out the Interactive Financial Service /CheckFree solution for electronic banking, billing and payment to attendees of the BAI Retail Delivery Show. IFS is a cost effective middleware platform that supports home banking services, network infrastructure and front-end connectivity, and access to the CheckFree processing infrastructure for electronic billing and payment and end-to-end customer care support.

“Through Integrion, America’s financial institutions have an opportunity to define the way in which financial electronic commerce occurs,” said Pete Kight, chairman and CEO of CheckFree. “The sooner banks are up and running on IFS, the sooner they will enjoy the cost efficiencies and service enhancements of the combined Integrion and CheckFree alliance and the sooner they will be able to offer value-added services to their customers.”

Within the first half of 1998, IFS will be seamlessly connected with the CheckFree processing engine to ensure that high quality, efficient electronic billing, payment and customer care can be provided as an integral service of IFS. Also in 1998, banks using IFS will be the first to offer their customers fully integrated electronic banking, billing, and payment services developed by CheckFree and Integrion.

“Once a bank is up and running with IFS, the standardized message format and access to high quality, large scale processing will lower individual bank costs,” said Bill Fenimore, managing director of Integrion. “From that point on, all system or product enhancements will be seamlessly upgraded within the IFS platform, with no work on the bank’s part.”

The world’s largest retail financial services conference, RDS ’97, which began December 1, will continue through December 5 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. More than 300 companies will exhibit their products and services to an estimated attendance of more than 6,000.

During RDS ’97, CheckFree will also spotlight its full line of retail delivery products and services as well as demonstrations of the company’s electronic billing and payment solution, CheckFree E-Bill(sm). Integrion will highlight its products and services through interactive presentations as well as showcase some of its customer web pages.

RDS ’97 is presented by Bank Administration Institute (BAI), the leading professional organization devoted exclusively to improving the competitive position of financial services companies through strategic research and a broad range of educational offerings.

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, Barnett Bank, 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 .

AboutCheckFree

Founded in 1981, CheckFree Corporation () is the leading provider of electronic commerce services, software and related products for more than 2 million consumers, 1,000 businesses and 850 financial institutions. CheckFree designs, develops and markets services that enable its customers to make electronic payments and collections, automate paper- based recurring financial transactions and conduct secure transactions on the Internet.

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BASE-24 Y2K Compatible

Applied Communications, Inc. , a subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. , announces the global deployment of year 2000 compatible BASE24 products. The software products, which include BASE24-atm, BASE24-pos, BASE24-teller, BASE24-telebanking and BASE24-billpay applications, provide fault-tolerant, scaleable EFT processing solutions that fully support operations in the year 2000.

“Our goal is to make January 1, 2000, `just another day’ in the processing lives of our customers,” said John Stanner, TSA’s Y2K coordinator. “To validate that our software products are ready, ACI has been systematically analyzing and testing Y2K issues for nearly two years so that our customers will have one less worry as they prepare their systems for the next century.”

ACI’s Y2K work began in 1991 when BASE24 was enhanced to pr.ply handle credit, debit and ATM cards with “00” expiration dates. As a result, relatively few Y2K changes remained. To locate them, ACI developed special tools that analyze and test the millions of lines of code contained in BASE24. ACI now provides these tools to customers to test their own systems.

ACI’s latest step toward Y2K compatibility across its entire product line, is the shipment of BASE24 Release 5.1.2. The update brings a number of BASE24 products into Y2K compliance, including BASE24-atm, BASE24-pos and BASE24- teller. Other Y2K updates currently shipping include Release 1.1 of BASE24- telebanking and BASE24-billpay, and CO-ach Release 2.4.

The updated BASE24 release joins a growing number of Y2K compatible products from ACI and its TSA affiliates. These products include:

ACI * CO-ach — high performance automated clearing and settlement (ACH)

* NET24 — mission-critical transaction processing middleware

* BASE24-check authorization, -refunds authorization and -disbursement, and-frequent shopper — check and refund fraud detection software for merchant retail

* ICE — connectivity software for Tandem NSK applications

USSI, Inc.

* TRANS24-eft — transaction authorization and routing, and device management for eft transactions and networks

* TRANS24-cms — card management system supporting the issue and reissue of plastics

* TRANS24-cp — card processing system for credit cards and merchant accounting

* TRANS24-settlement manager — settlement system that manages financial settlement for complex networks

* TRANS24-dcs — debit card system supporting ATM and POS transaction processing for Visa and MasterCard branded debit cards

Grapevine Systems, Inc.

* ENGUARD Release 2.0 — platform-independent monitoring, alert and dispatch application

Crystal Clear Technology, Inc.

* PRM — neural network fraud control for debit/credit card fraud

* ExecInsight — executive information system and data warehouse product

* WINPAY24 — retail application software products

* ClaimTrack — client-server back-office processing for claims, adjustments, and chargebacks

* XPRESS Banking — home banking systems designed specifically for community banks

“As a result of our efforts, most of our products are already Y2K compatible, with completion of some earlier releases and regional products expected in early 1998,” Stanner added.

Applied Communications, Inc., USSI, Inc., Grapevine Systems, Inc. and Crystal Clear Technologies, Inc. are subsidiaries of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. (Nasdaq: TSAI). Transaction Systems’ software facilitates electronic payments and electronic commerce by providing consumers and companies access to their money. The company’s products are used to process transactions involving credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, remote banking services, checks, wire transfers and automated clearing and settlement. Its solutions are used on more than 2,700 product systems in 69 countries on six continents. Visit TSA on the World Wide Web at .

All trademarks are property of their respective owners. Please use upper case with no spaces between letters and numbers of BASE24, TRANS24 and WINPAY24.

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CompuServe Wireless Transactions

CompuServe Network Services today announced the company has extended its Transaction Services Network to include remote wireless connectivity with the integration of GTE’s Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) network. Now, merchants will be able to accommodate payment card transactions at the point-of-sale whether from an outdoor music festival, street fair, or major sporting event without dedicated telephone lines.

As part of its emerging electronic commerce strategy, CompuServe Network Services realizes retailers are increasingly mobile — going directly to customers at all venues, instead of waiting for customers to find their store front. In turn, with CDPD, CompuServe Network Services is enabling retailers to gain wireless access to the CompuServe Transaction Services Network. The CDPD service is currently available in most U.S. cellular markets, reaching more than 4,000 cities nationwide.

“Reliable wireless connectivity is key to the success of remote transaction processing,” stated Peter Van Camp, president, CompuServe Network Services. “Now, CompuServe Network Services is able to connect merchants, banks and credit card processors to facilitate commerce any time of day, no matter where the merchant is located.”

“GTE’s CDPD network is fast, reliable, secure and inexpensive, so it is the perfect complement to CompuServe Network Services far-reaching, highly reliable Transaction Services Network,” said Byron Smith, vice president-sales, GTE. “For example, a typical credit card transaction may cost very little and is completed within three to five seconds, making CDPD ideal for immediate data transmissions, such as point-of-sale transactions.”

One Visa credit card processor, First Bank, showcased the CDPD solution at the recently held sixth annual Twin Cities Ribfest in Minneapolis, where more than 100,000 people converged downtown to taste and compare ribs from some of the nation’s top restaurants. For the first time, visitors could purchase coupons via credit cards redeemable for food, beverage and souvenir purchases. In past years, on-line credit card verification was not possible because the Ribfest takes place where no dedicated telephone lines are available — outdoors.

In support of its new offering, CompuServe Network Services has signed an agreement with GTE for its national CDPD service. The deal calls for CompuServe Network Services to utilize GTE’s CDPD network to provide cost- effective digital transmission using its existing cellular telephone network to send data to and from various computing devices. Additionally, business executives can take advantage of the new wireless connectivity option to conduct business from the road.

About CompuServe Network Services

Established in 1982, CompuServe Network Services, a leading global network integrator, provides more than 1,300 customers with complete, fully integrated, Internet, Intranet and Extranet connectivity solutions in 106 countries. A division of CompuServe, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSRV), CompuServe Network Services provides the network for CompuServes CSi online service and SPRYNET direct Internet access service. Additional information on CompuServe Network Services can be found on the World Wide Web at .

About GTE

GTE (NYSE: GTE) is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. In its wireless operations, GTE provides telecommunications products and services to more than four million customers in 73 metropolitan and 52 rural markets nationwide.

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SAS Scores Big with Bankers

SAS Institute says it has sold applications in the past quarter to MBNA, Chase Manhattan, Bank of New York, First USA, First Bank System, BankBoston, Citibank, CitiCorp Services, First Chicago NBD, NationsBank, Republic National Bank and Wachovia. The “bankers’ dozen” worth of applications range from data warehousing to ad hoc query and reporting, OLAP/business intelligence, data analysis, IT management, and data mining.

“Banks use our OLAP and data warehousing tools, and data mining methodology to build long-term relationships with their customers,” said Laurie Rose, SAS Institute program manager, Financial Services Industry. “SAS Institute is successful in the banking industry, because it helps banks to quickly and smoothly adapt to business changes. SAS(R) software can access and combine any data from virtually any data source.”

MBNA-MXA (MBNA’s Loss Prevention dept.) Its plans include a data mart and MDDBs via SAS/Warehouse Administrator(TM) software, a production reporting environment for business users delivered via the Web, and an ad hoc query and reporting environment for data marts and business users.

Chase — The Credit Card Services group is implementing a new information warehouse for Risk and Marketing users. SAS software will be used for query and reporting, OLAP, predictive modeling, scoring and applied analysis.

The Value Management Group will build a data mart to consolidate and analyze data from Insurance, Credit Card, Mortgage, Auto Loan, and Consumer Credit Business Units.

Information/Technology Management — Small business accounts will use SAS software to analyze profitability, model its customer base, and do portfolio analysis.

Bank of NY – The Technology Group will replace MVS CA MICS with IT Service Vision(TM) software.

First USA – Marketing and Credit Policy groups (60-70 analysts) are using SAS software for marketing analysis including campaign management. First Bank System – SAS software will be used in a Customer Decision Management data mining user lab running off of a corporate data warehouse.

BankBoston – Additions to enhance their in-house on-line budget system. SAS is used to analyze performance issues and as a Database Marketing application to their Database Marketing Group.

Citibank – An expansion of Citicorp’s center operations.

CitiCorp Services – The group is building a data warehouse for market research in its Tampa regional headquarters for Latin American data centers.

First Chicago NBD – SAS software will add data mining capability to checking, savings and loans.

NationsBank – An enhancement for the Credit Policy department’s decision support applications.

Republic National Bank – Applied Analysis Business need/concept: Scoring bank customers.

Wachovia – An application for segmenting, clustering and scoring of retail banking customer information

Now in its 21st year, SAS Institute is one of the top ten largest independent software vendors in the world, and is the largest privately held software company. The leading provider of data warehousing and decision-support software, the Institute has won the reader-selected 1996 and 1997 Datamation magazine Data Warehousing Product of the Year award, and Software Magazine’s 1997 Editor’s Choice award for decision-support software.

SAS Institute provides an integrated suite of information delivery tools that allow companies to transform the wide variety of data within their organization into information that business users need to make decisions. To make data useful, SAS software collects data from almost every platform and data format; cleans and transforms data into information that users will understand; and stores that information in an open and efficient data warehouse structure. To explore this information, SAS software includes OLAP, query and reporting, EIS, data mining, analysis, data visualization, and application-development interfaces.

SAS software is client/server and Web enabled. SAS Institute also delivers business solutions that are complete packages for financial consolidation and reporting, clinical trials analysis, oil and gas analysis, and IT service management. Currently, SAS software and business solutions are being used at 30,000 business, government, and university sites in more than 120 countries.

Please visit SAS Institute’s Web site: [www.sas.com][1] SAS is a registered trademark of SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA. All other tradenames referenced are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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

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Holiday Sales Weak

Consumer spending for the three-day Thanksgiving weekend showed only a slight gain over last year’s strong Thanksgiving weekend sales, resulting in a 1.0 percent gain in same-store sales, according to TeleCheck Services, the world’s leading check-acceptance company.

Data are based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of authorized checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 167,000 subscribing locations. Checks account for more than one-third of retail spending. TeleCheck is a subsidiary of First Data Corp..

“Sales slowed over the weekend, resulting in a 1.0 percent same-store sales gain for the three-day period, compared to the 4.3 percent gain TeleCheck reported for the same three days in 1996,” said Dr. William Ford, TeleCheck’s senior economic adviser.

“Many consumers took advantage of early sales promotions and discounts, which resulted in smaller receipts for retailers. And many others used the Thanksgiving weekend as an opportunity to browse and plan for items they’ll buy later in the season. For the last few years, spending has slowed following the Thanksgiving weekend, then increased closer to Christmas, with the biggest shopping days occurring the last week before Christmas.”

The Northeast was the strongest region, up 4.4 percent. Sales rose 4.3 percent in New York, with New York City up 2.1 percent. Massachusetts’ sales grew by 2.0 percent, with Boston up 3.2 percent.

In the Southeast, sales rose 2.3 percent, with Georgia up 4.5 percent, Tennessee gaining 3.3 percent and Florida rising 2.1 percent. Sales dropped 1.6 percent in Louisiana and 2.7 percent in the Carolinas.

Atlanta’s sales rose 5.2 percent and Nashville’s grew by 2.8 percent, while Memphis’ dropped 2.9 percent and New Orleans declined 1.8 percent. Sales rose by 3.4 percent in Tampa and 2.5 percent in Orlando, but dropped 0.5 percent in Miami/Fort Lauderdale.

The Midwest had a 1.4 percent gain, with Minnesota up 3.1 percent, Wisconsin up 2.4 percent and Ohio up 1.9 percent. Sales rose 0.4 percent in Michigan and dropped 0.9 percent in Illinois. Sales were down 0.4 percent in Minneapolis/St. Paul and up 5.3 percent in Milwaukee. Cleveland’s sales rose by 1.9 percent, Detroit’s were up 0.5 percent and Chicago’s rose 2.3 percent.

The Mid-Atlantic was up 0.3 percent, with New Jersey up 3.3 percent, Maryland up 0.3 percent and Pennsylvania up 0.2 percent. Virginia’s sales dropped 0.1 percent and the District of Columbia’s were down 1.9 percent. Baltimore’s sales dropped 0.8 percent, Pittsburgh’s were down 0.3 percent and Philadelphia’s sales dropped 2.8 percent.

Sales in the West were down 0.7 percent. Oregon’s sales rose 5.3 percent, Colorado’s and Washington’s were both up 0.4 percent and Arizona’s grew 0.2 percent. Hawaii’s sales dropped 1.0 percent and California’s declined by 1.6 percent.

Sales rose by 3.2 percent in Portland and by 1.5 percent in Denver, but dropped 1.0 percent in Seattle. Sales rose 2.1 percent in Phoenix and 0.7 percent in San Diego, while Los Angeles’ sales dropped 0.7 percent and the Bay Area’s declined by 2.0 percent.

The Southwest’s sales dropped 1.3 percent, with Oklahoma up 1.3 percent, Missouri down 0.7 percent and Texas down 1.6 percent. Sales rose by 1.7 percent in Tulsa and 1.6 percent in Oklahoma City and dropped 1.4 percent in St. Louis and 5.1 percent in Kansas City. Sales rose 3.0 percent in Austin and 0.3 percent in Houston, but declined 0.3 percent in Dallas/Fort Worth and 1.8 percent in San Antonio.

TeleCheck’s index is compiled on a calendar basis and is based on the total sales volume of check-writing consumers at a broad cross-section of retailers. Figures are not adjusted for inflation. Checks account for 37 percent of retail spending. In 1996, TeleCheck authorized more than $40.2 billion in checks and processed more than 645 million check inquiries.

Founded in 1992, Hackensack, N.J.-based First Data 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 or services by credit, debit or smart card at the point of sale or over the Internet; by check, or wire money — seamlessly and effortlessly.

For more information about First Data, visit the company on the Internet at .

Ford holds the Weatherford Chair of Finance at Middle Tennessee State University. Earlier in his career he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and served on former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker’s Federal Open Market Committee.

Note to Editors: The TeleCheck logo and additional information on retail sales figures can be downloaded from the TeleCheck Web site at .

TeleCheck National Holiday Retail Sales Index
Thanksgiving Weekend Sales (Period: 11/28-11/30/97)
Dec. 2, 1997

11/28-11/30/97 November
————– ——–

NATIONAL 1.0% -0.4%

SOUTHEAST 2.3% 0.9%
Florida 2.1% 1.4%
Miami/Fort Lauderdale -0.5% -2.9%
Orlando 2.5% 2.8%
Tampa 3.4% 0.3%
Louisiana -1.6% -0.9%
New Orleans -1.8% -2.1%
Georgia 4.5% 4.7%
Atlanta 5.2% 5.3%
Tennessee 3.3% 2.0%
Memphis -2.9% -4.0%
Nashville 2.8% 3.7%
The Carolinas -2.7% -3.5%

SOUTHWEST -1.3% -0.5%
Texas -1.6% 0.1%
Austin 3.0% 0.2%
Dallas/Fort Worth -0.3% 0.6%
Houston 0.3% 2.8%
San Antonio -1.8% -2.8%
Missouri -0.7% 1.2%
Kansas City -5.1% -7.6%
St. Louis -1.4% 4.1%
Oklahoma 1.3% -2.0%
Oklahoma City 1.6% -0.7%
Tulsa 1.7% -2.2%

WEST -0.7% -1.3%
Arizona 0.2% 3.7%
Phoenix 2.1% 5.1%
California -1.6% -1.3%
Bay Area -2.0% -3.4%
Los Angeles -0.7% 0.5%
San Diego 0.7% 1.8%
Oregon 5.3% -2.3%
Portland 3.2% -3.0%
Washington 0.4% -1.2%
Seattle -1.0% 1.1%
Colorado 0.4% -0.2%
Denver 1.5% 2.0%
Hawaii -1.0% 0.6%

NORTHEAST 4.4% 0.1%
Massachusetts 2.0% 1.2%
Boston 3.2% -0.4%
New York 4.3% -0.7%
New York City 2.1% -5.3%

MIDWEST 1.4% 0.9%
Illinois -0.9% 0.7%
Chicago 2.3% 3.3%
Michigan 0.4% 1.2%
Detroit 0.5% 0.3%
Minnesota 3.1% -1.9%
Minneapolis/St. Paul -0.4% -2.4%
Wisconsin 2.4% 0.4%
Milwaukee 5.3% -0.5%
Ohio 1.9% 2.2%
Cleveland 1.9% 3.0%

MID-ATLANTIC 0.3% -2.5%
District of Columbia -1.9% -2.7%
Pennsylvania 0.2% -3.7%
Philadelphia -2.8% -5.1%
Pittsburgh -0.3% -2.4%
New Jersey 3.3% -3.6%
Virginia -0.1% -0.8%
Maryland 0.3% -4.1%
Baltimore -0.8% -2.0%

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Carter Named BUYPASS President

BUYPASS Corporation has announced the promotion of Ron Carter, previously senior vice president, Petroleum/Convenience Store and Hospitality Product Sales for BUYPASS Corporation, to president of BUYPASS. BUYPASS Corporation, a subsidiary of Electronic Payment Services, Inc. (EPS) is a major third-party POS processor and debit transaction acquirer with annual transaction volume of over 900 million.

“Ron Carter possesses in-depth experience and a wealth of knowledge in the industries BUYPASS serves, and we are very excited that Ron has accepted the challenge of applying this experience and knowledge to managing our BUYPASS operation,” said Richard Garman, president and chief executive officer, EPS. Carter reports to Ruth Ann Marshall, former BUYPASS president, who was promoted to executive vice president and group executive of EPS. In her new role, Marshall is now responsible for all BUYPASS and MAC(R) client relationships, including customer service and product management functions.

Other BUYPASS 3rd Quarter Highlights

— Tim Finn succeeds Ron Carter as vice president of Petroleum and Convenience Store Sales.

— BUYPASS’ third-quarter transaction volume was 265.3 million, up 32% over third quarter 1996. This included 57.3 million debit POS transactions, 85% above third quarter 1996, and 5.9 million electronic benefits transfer (EBT) transactions.

— BUYPASS expanded its EBT offering to include programs in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, and Oregon during the third quarter; BUYPASS now processes for EBT programs in 24 states.

— BUYPASS increased the number of terminals certified for supporting EBT transactions by completing testing and certification on new software for VeriFone’s TRANZ 330 POS terminal. The software now supports EBT transactions in addition to debit and credit.

— BUYPASS added l,342 new merchant locations in the third quarter.

Electronic Payment Services, Inc. (EPS), a privately held company headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, is a leading electronic funds transfer (EFT) processor in the United States, with over 2 billion transactions annually. EPS is the holding company for BUYPASS Corporation and MONEY ACCESS SERVICE INC.

BUYPASS Corporation, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, provides processing for 50 of the top 200 grocery store chains in the United States. One out of every ten debit POS transactions performed in the United States is processed by BUYPASS. BUYPASS also has electronic benefits transfer (EBT) programs in 24 states and provides gateway access to over 46 credit, debit and EBT gateways.

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