Genus Holiday Hotline

As consumers head off to the malls the day after Thanksgiving, kicking off the biggest shopping season of the year, Genus Credit Management today launches its automated Holiday Hotline. The interactive, strictly confidential Holiday Hotline 888-GENUS 12, is a valuable tool for shoppers looking to devise affordable budgets for holiday purchases.

Without a smart budget or a workshop of Santa’s elves to make gift giving affordable, holiday spending can often times lead many Americans into debt. To help consumers spend wisely during this season of giving, the 24-hour hotline will help consumers develop an effective spending plan based on their financial income, current debt, estimated number of presents to buy, price range of these gifts, among other considerations. The hotline also offers tips on good money skills to adopt when holiday shopping and entertaining to prevent credit or debt problems. Internet users can also access the holiday budget worksheet and other useful holiday tips by visiting the Genus website at .

“Keeping holiday spending under control does not mean that you have to become a Scrooge when it comes to buying gifts for loved ones. Instead, you must simply learn how to use credit responsibly,” says Bernie Dancel, founder and CEO of Genus Credit Management, a non-profit organization that provides free debt management and education to over 40,000 consumers nationwide each month.

During last year’s holiday shopping season, 50 percent of Americans spent nearly $300 more than their intended average gift budget of $715. Swept up by the season of giving, shoppers spent 42 percent more than they anticipated. This is the type of overspending that leaves many consumers facing credit trouble into the New Year. While it may take only moments of generosity to accumulate debt, paying it off may take years. For example, it takes 23 years to pay off a $1,900 balance by making only the minimum monthly payment, according to Bankcard Holders of America.

“We encourage consumers to be conscientious about their spending limits before they shop so that they don’t find themselves overwhelmed by debt in the new year,” says Mr. Dancel. “We hope our holiday promotion attracts more consumers to seek our help in gaining better control of their financial situations before they are in serious trouble. Our new hotline is accessible to anyone, anytime of the day or night.”

Here’s a few tips from Genus Credit Management to avoid overspending during the Holidays:

— Devise a holiday spending plan. Make sure the plan includes items such as holiday dinners, entertainment and travel expenses and decorations.

— Consider where you are in your credit card’s billing cycle and make purchases in the beginning of the cycle, when you have the longest period of time before your payment is due.

— Make a gift-giving list for loved ones with the amount to be spent on each gift… and stick to it! Keep track of what you’ve spent, so if you do overspend on one gift, adjustments can be made to your list.

— Identify which of your credit cards carries the lowest interest and consider it for making holiday purchases. Calculate the card’s interest rate into the cost of the purchase to determine the affordability.

— Consider using a Smart Card or Debit Card for purchases to prevent the accumulation of debt.

— Start saving in advance to increase your cash allowance for holiday spending. For example, if you buy lunch everyday at work, brown-bag it for the next few weeks. This savings will provide the resources to buy gifts without interest and help pay off your expenses after the holidays.

Consumer debt has soared 39 percent in the last five years and now exceeds $1 trillion, according to the Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin. For every dollar of income earned over the past five years, consumers spend $1.10. Last year, more than 1 million consumers filed for personal bankruptcies, discharging $30 billion in consumer debt.

Based in Columbia, Md., Genus Credit Management provides confidential counseling and education about debt management to thousands of consumers each week. Through its services, Genus Credit Management aims to help consumers recognize poor credit behaviors as a preemptive way to head-off serious debt problems. Its credit counselors can provide immediate relief to individuals with debt problems, offering affordable repayment schedules for managing outstanding debt.

Genus Credit Management also offers a free Debt Management Program to help consumers manage credit wisely, overcome financial hardships and avoid bankruptcy. Through its Debt Management Program, Genus Credit Management negotiates with creditors to reduce interest and monthly payments and eliminate fees. The organization assists consumers by customizing an affordable, consistent payment process without creating additional loans.

Since 1992, the organization has grown by 300 percent annually. Currently, Genus Credit Management’s workforce totals more than 450 members. By the end of 1997, Genus Credit Management expects to employ more than 600 staff members. For more information, please contact Genus Credit Management at 800-955-0412.

Consumers can access the holiday budget worksheets and other valuable information by visiting the Genus website, at .


Mondex Gateway Device

InterVoice, Inc. (Nasdaq: INTV), the leading global supplier of call automation systems, announced today that its Mondex Device Gateway will facilitate the remote transfer of electronic funds over common telephone lines in the most recent Mondex smartcard program, launched by Chase Manhattan Bank (NYSE: CMB) and MasterCard International. The Gateway, running on InterVoice’s OneVoice(R) platform, enables merchants to automatically deposit funds daily from their point-of-sale (POS) devices. More than 600 retailers are currently participating in the Chase Manhattan Bank pilot program with additional merchants signing on every day including many places that previously accepted only cash such as newsstands and cafes.

The New York Mondex smartcard pilot is the first implementation of Mondex POS devices on the InterVoice Device Gateway using the rollout 3109 card. Five new Mondex devices have been added to the Gateway in the pilot program and are supplied by Hypercom, IVI Ingenico, Keycorp, Schlumberger and VeriFone. This brings the number of Mondex devices supported by the InterVoice Mondex Device Gateway in worldwide pilots to 15 including home phones from Hitachi, Inventec and Nortel, as well as GPT and Nortel payphones, and POS devices from De La Rue Fortronic.

New York is the twelfth Mondex implementation using InterVoice’s Device Gateway; other countries with Mondex pilots include the UK, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia.

“Services provided by banks have expanded rapidly over the past few years and InterVoice has been a major contributor with information technology solutions which have helped revolutionize the way banks deal with their customers,” said Mike Polcyn, InterVoice’s vice president, line of business. “Mondex appears to be the first international smartcard standard benefiting the consumers, the merchants and the banks through greater convenience and lower cost of transaction than cash, credit or debit payment.”

InterVoice, Inc. is a leading global supplier of automated call processing solutions, with the number of installed systems totaling more than 9,100 in 49 countries. InterVoice systems are used in inbound and outbound call centers across virtually all industry sectors to increase revenues and customer service levels, with lower associated costs. With capacity ranging from four to thousands of ports, InterVoice systems integrate with virtually any telephone and IS environment, and are available in both customer premise equipment (CPE) and telco-compliant configurations. InterVoice, an ISO 9001 certified company, is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, USA and has representative offices in Canada, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Company information and interactive demonstrations are available on the World Wide Web at .

About Mondex International

Mondex International grants licenses to franchisees to allow them to exploit the Mondex electronic cash technology in a given territory. Since its incorporation in 1996, Mondex has issued 29 licenses across 5 continents. Mondex is being developed by franchisees in 50 countries representing a potential market place of in excess of 3 billion people.

Mondex is the most ‘cash-like’ of the electronic smartcards which are beginning to be introduced around the world as a more efficient alternative to physical cash; for use in everyday shopping and as a future payment mechanism in a wide variety of areas such as the Internet and ‘pay-per-view’ TV.

Mondex is the only electronic cash system in the world to operate with a single global technology allowing for cross-country payments. It allows up to five different currencies to be carried on the card at any one time in separate electronic pockets.

Mondex is currently being used in 21 implementations around the world including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines, UK and USA. By the end of 1997, Mondex International will have produced in excess of 1,000,000 reloadable Mondex cards; this figure is expected to rise to 5,000,000 reloadable cards by the end of 1998.

MasterCard International acquired 51% of the company in February 1997 and is adopting Mondex International’s technology as its strategic chip platform.

The following companies are also shareholders (directly or indirectly) in Mondex International: National Westminster Bank, Ulster Bank, Midland Bank, Scotiabank, Credit Union Central of Canada, The National Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal, Canada Trust, Le Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, Toronto- Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Wells Fargo, AT&T, Chase Manhattan, First Chicago NBD, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia), ANZ Banking Group (New Zealand), Bank of New Zealand, Countrywide Banking Corporation, The National Bank of New Zealand, ASB Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation (New Zealand).

Mondex H8/3109 smartcard chip

The new H8/3109 customized smartcard chip being used features an on-board crypto co-processor, and offers 8Kbytes of EEPROM and 14Kbytes of ROM allowing for high speed numerical calculations and the longer key lengths which are required for public key algorithms, such as RSA, DSA, Zero Knowledge and others.


TPII Used in NYC Pilot

The New York Smart Card Program launched recently on the Upper West Side of Manhattan by Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Mastercard and VISA features TPII software developed by IFS International (Nasdaq: MNYC), a worldwide leader in client server based electronic funds transfer (EFT) technology.

VISA International selected IFS to provide the software for a series of high-profile worldwide pilots involving the VISA Cash card. In the New York program, Citibank uses TPII to authorize reloads of cash and other processing functions. The basic system has been customized to enable unique capabilities for Citibank, such as special auditing facilities and enhanced log-on security features.

During the six-month project that began recently, over 600 merchants on the Upper West Side are accepting the smart card as a substitute for cash.

“This is a chance to let American consumers see the software in action,” said Frank Pascuito, IFS International Chairman. “TPII authorizes the transaction to allow the consumer to load money onto a computer chip embedded in the smart card. We think this technology will be the wave of the future.”

In addition to this project, IFS is involved with several other VISA Cash smart card pilots in Europe and Asia, including projects for Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry, VISA United Kingdom and the Bankgesellschaft Berlin, the largest bank holding company in Berlin.

TPII is an EFT management system for automated teller machines (ATM), point-of-sale (POS) and voice authorization. It utilizes object-oriented software design, relational database technology and the UNIX operating system for maximum performance. It has been adapted to manage the loading of value on smart cards.

IFS is headquartered in Troy, N.Y., with offices in the United Kingdom and Singapore. E-mail: Web page: IFS securities are traded on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market: MNYC Common Stock; MNYCP Series A Convertible Preferred Stock, MNYCW Series A Convertible Preferred Stock Purchase Warrants.


ScorXPRESS Fights Holiday Fraud

The holiday shopping rush is here and while merchants are prepared for what they hope will be a busy and profitable selling season, creditors are bracing for the annual increase in credit card fraud as retailers are swamped, and their ability to stop fraud is greatly strained.

Industry figures show fraudulent credit card activity can increase 15 percent or more during the holiday season.

Overall annual losses to banks, credit grantors and retailers from the fraudulent use of credit cards is estimated to be $1.5 billion. For years, such losses were treated as an “acceptable” cost of doing business, and the increased costs due to fraud were passed along to honest credit card users in the form of higher interest rates and fees.

But, as lenders face more competition for customers, and fraud losses continue to spiral, they can no longer turn a blind eye to the problem. Instead they are using innovative software to fight back. A pioneer in helping lenders combat fraud is Advanced Software Applications (A.S.A.) of Pittsburgh.

A developer and marketer of data mining and decision support software, A.S.A. uses a hybrid of software technologies including neural networks, and traditional statistics to track and identify patterns of use, including fraud. The system is called ScorXPRESS(R), and is being hailed by risk managers as a real breakthrough in dealing with fraud in a very business-oriented manner.

“In the past recognizing and stopping credit card fraud, especially Application Fraud, was a labor intensive and difficult task,” said A.S.A. President and Founder Bill Gossman. “With ScorXPRESS we’ve been able to help our customers reduce fraud by 30 to 50 percent, reduce or eliminate review and verification costs, and increase the amount of `good’ new business they are able to book.”

The software can be easily customized to each lender’s specific needs, and has proven highly successful for clients such as GE Capital, Beneficial National Bank USA, Capital One, and Western Union.

Instant credit is one of the most popular and effective marketing tools used to entice consumers to make a purchase. Nationally, it’s estimated that as many as two-thirds of consumers who open instant credit accounts make an immediate purchase, and for some large lenders, 90 percent of credit card applications originate from instant credit offers.

It is this fertile climate that has helped to make Application Fraud, also known as ID or True Name Fraud, one of the fastest-growing areas of credit card fraud. By using the identity of consumers with good credit ratings, and taking advantage of the time pressures associated with “instant credit approval,” sophisticated criminals minimize the chance that an application will be rejected or flagged for further review.

These thieves obtain personal information about their victims from a variety of sources such as hospital records, personnel files, payroll records and the Internet. Or, they illegally purchase credit bureau reports. In either event this information is used to open new accounts instantly. In most cases the victim doesn’t know their identity has been compromised until they receive late payment notices, collection calls or are turned down for credit because their credit record has been damaged. And, while the victim is generally not liable for the purchases, they are responsible for clearing their good name which can take years of effort.

ScorXPRESS combats this activity by searching credit card applications for any pattern or mis-information that may indicate a fraudulent application. The process takes just a few seconds, and generates a score for the lender to act upon. The higher the score, the less likely the application is fraudulent. Lower scores indicate a greater chance that the application is fraudulent, and trigger a manual review and verification.

“We believe this powerful software provides lenders with a strong weapon in the increasing battle against credit card fraud,” said Gossman. “And consumers also benefit as lenders are able to keep fees and interest rates lower, and help to protect honest consumers from the hassles and trauma of ID fraud.”

Advanced Software Applications is a leader in packaging advanced technologies for enterprise-wide data mining, automated data analysis and on-demand decision support. The company’s award-winning products are highly regarded as breakthrough “best-of-breed” solutions. By combining advanced technologies, such as neural networks, with traditional statistics, A.S.A. has created affordable, off-the-shelf business products for fraud detection and prevention, risk management, and database marketing. Founded in 1992, A.S.A. is a privately held company headquartered in Pittsburgh, and distributes its products throughout North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.


Trans24 Debit Card System

USSI, Inc., a subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc., announces a product addition to its TRANS24 family of payment processing software products and enhancements to existing TRANS24 software solutions.

The newest addition to the TRANS24 portfolio is TRANS24-debit card system, a comprehensive, integrated application that supports ATM and POS transaction processing for Visa and MasterCard branded debit cards. A full-featured debit card clearing and settlement solution, TRANS24-debit card system performs authorization matching, transaction posting and exception processing through direct interfaces to Visa and MasterCard settlement systems. It is designed to operate in conjunction with a separate authorization system such as USSI’s TRANS24-eft authorization system or BASE24 from USSI affiliate Applied Communications, Inc. (ACI). Additionally, TRANS24-debit card system includes fraud reporting features and is year 2000 (Y2K) compliant.

“With the continued growth of Visa Check, MasterMoney and Visa Electron debit card transactions, we saw a market need among card issuing institutions for an in-house software solution that could handle debit transactions,” said Mike Rouw, vice president of Marketing at USSI. “TRANS24-debit card system provides a simple, cost-effective method of handling the settlement and exception requirements of Visa and MasterCard by using an institution’s existing authorization systems.”

USSI also is rolling out new releases of four TRANS24 products. The enhanced products are TRANS24-card processing Release 7.1, and Release 4.0 of TRANS24-card management, TRANS24-eft and TRANS24-settlement manager. To meet Y2K compliance, the new releases have been tested with the latest UNIX and IBM operating systems, including OS/390, AIX and HP-UX. Additionally, TRANS24- card processing includes compliance with Visa and MasterCard regulations and integration with the new TRANS24-debit card system. TRANS24-card management offers enhanced card status indicators and point-of-sale transaction statistics. Enhancements to TRANS24-eft include new on-line text fields in the messaging system and a number of new features for use with NCR ATMs. TRANS24-settlement manager 4.0 provides a Windows-based graphical user interface and enhancements to the ATM balancing process.

“USSI is completing a fully tested, year 2000 compliant release of our TRANS24 components by the end of 1997, while at the same time implementing enhancements requested by our customers,” said Mark Vipond, president of USSI. “We understand our customers’ need to ensure year 2000 compliance and are committed to assisting each of them as they upgrade to the latest release of our software.”

TRANS24 products operate on a variety of hardware platforms including IBM mainframes and multiple UNIX-based servers.

USSI, Inc. is a subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc.. 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 and USSI, Inc. 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 TRANS24 and BASE24.


Omnius CardPress

Perfect Plastic Printing of St. Charles, IL announced Monday it is testing a new card printing technology from Indigo that prints directly from a computer file. The ‘Omnius CardPress’ system prints high quality images on a plastic core material and is capable of producing a new image with each cylinder rotation. It has the capacity to print 10,000 full-color cards per hour and allows the production of multiple images on the same form. Indigo N.V. has been a leader in digital color offset printing technology.


NET-MAX Expands

Imark Technologies, Inc. is extending its award winning NET-MAX(TM) service, using the CyberCash (Nasdaq: CYCH) transaction processing gateway, to offer local currency credit card processing, to information providers with Internet based content. The service will initially support Canadian dollars. Imark’s unique combination of pricing options and local currency billing now gives information providers the ability to realize the full global revenue impact of publishing on the Internet. Using NET-MAX, publishers can now present and price information worldwide in the currency of local markets. The addition of local currency billing to the NET-MAX service gives information providers an enhanced ability to localize their product offerings to meet varying international customer pricing and billing needs.

“The Internet gives information providers the opportunity to reach new customers worldwide,” said Robert Wiedemer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Imark. “With CyberCash, Imark has quickly expanded our NET-MAX offering to meet the local currency processing requirements of international publishers. By teaming with CyberCash, a leading provider of secure financial transactions on the Internet, we expect an increase in Imark’s international opportunities. As a result, we believe this opportunity will have a significant impact on our revenue growth.”

“The Internet provides unprecedented global distribution opportunities for information providers,” said Bruce Wilson, CyberCash Executive Vice President, Global Business Development. “CyberCash is proud to have been selected by Imark to help them maintain their leadership position in offering information providers the revenue growth which comes from the ability to accept spontaneous payments from buyers located anywhere in the world.”

About CyberCash, Inc.

CyberCash, Inc., headquartered in Reston, Virginia, USA, is a technology- driven company that provides software and services to enable secure financial transactions on the Internet, worldwide. The Company offers a complete suite of Internet payment services including a credit card service which handles payments using major debit and credit cards, an innovative micropayment service which enables cash transactions and a secure electronic check service which allows consumer-to-business and business-to-business payments from a bank account. CyberCash has formed partnerships with leading financial institutions and corporations in Canada, UK, Germany, France and Japan to offer secure Internet payment services on a global basis. CyberCash is actively working to incorporate an interoperable SET solution into its electronic commerce services, based on the recently published SET 1.0 (Secure Electronic Transaction) Protocol. To this end, the Company has provided technology to the Visa SET 1.0 Pilot of the SmartCommerce japan project. CyberCash is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market, under the symbol CYCH. CyberCash’s Web address is .

About Imark Technologies, Inc.

Imark Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, USA, strengthens information providers’ electronic publishing programs through the combination of multiple content pricing models and the outsourcing of billing and related services. Imark’s NET-MAX metering, transactions processing, and billing system provides secure, real-time financial transactions, with facilities to track and report detailed customer usage. NET-MAX was recently awarded the 1997 Information Industry Association (IIA) HotShot award for “best new enabling technology.” Imark is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market, under the symbol MAXX. Imark’s Web address is .

This press release, particularly the statements by Mr. Wiedemer, includes forward-looking statements related to Imark that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, quarterly fluctuations in results, the management of growth, market acceptance of certain products and other risks. These forward-looking statements are made in reliance on the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. For further information about these factors that could affect Imark’s future results, please see the Company’s filings with the Security and Exchange Commission. Prospective investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations. Copies of these filings are available upon request from Imark’s investor relations department.


1-800-PRE-PAID Card

The 1-800-PRE-PAID(TM) Gift Card is a unique gift that makes it just as rewarding to give as to receive. The gift giver’s bonus? An award of up to 250 United Airlines(R) Mileage Plus(R) miles or American Airlines(R) AAdvantage(R) miles for every $25 gift card. Each card bought carries a single award value of 200 miles, but with two or more purchased, every card will award you 250 miles. 1-800-PRE-PAID is the world leader in prepaid services offering mileage incentives.

Prepaid is perfect for travelers and makes long distance calling easier than ever. The per minute rate is the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; no surcharges for the first minute, no premium pricing for peak calling times and best of all for travelers, no giant mark-ups when calling from a hotel. Discussing the benefits of prepaid, Doug Fieldhouse, CEO of 1-800-PRE-PAID comments, “Long distance pricing is more confusing than ever with the grossly inflated first minute charges as well as region and time specific pricing. 1-800-PRE-PAID offers freedom from unexpected phone bills; in fact it offers freedom from any bills at all. The low $25 dollar price makes this gift ideal for stocking stuffers providing 75 minutes of domestic long distance, convenience, security and a great opportunity to keep in touch.”

The 1-800-PRE-PAID Gift Card offers quality international and domestic service. Call to over 200 countries around the globe. When you run short on calling time, a one minute, domestic toll-free call to the customer service center is all that is needed to recharge your card or order additional cards and receive generous mileage awards.

For more information about the 1-800-PRE-PAID Gift Card or other cards that offer AAdvantage miles, Mileage Plus miles or Reno Air QQuick Miles awards, call 1-800-PRE-PAID (800-773-7243) or 503-790-2500.


AmEx Ad Change

The advertising war between American Express and VISA took a new twist yesterday as American Express signed an agreement with the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. to modify future advertising. VISA, Citibank and Bank of America challenged, this past summer, the truthfulness and accuracy of AmEx’s TV and print advertising that compared the benefits of the basic American Express card with those offered by VISA issuers. As part of yesterday’s agreement American Express will now disclose that some ‘VISA Classic’ cards provide emergency medical and legal referrals and that some ‘VISA Classic’ cards are affiliated with mileage programs whose mileage does not expire. Most of AmEx’s comparative advertising was, however, appropriately substantiated.


VA Pilot Second Phase

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service and the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs began the second phase of its smart card pilot Monday in Florida. The James A. Hayley Veteran’s Medical Center in Tampa will become another test site in the VA pilot with NationsBank incorporating ‘VISA Cash’ cards. The Tampa project will involve 23,000 cards and will feature a special purpose card to be distributed by veteran’s organizations for special events hosted at the medical center. NationsBank and the VA recently launched a pilot with the Bronx VA Medical Center.


TSYS Signs Canadian Tire

Total System Services signed a long term agreement yesterday with Canadian Tire Acceptance to process six million private label cards and MasterCards. Under terms of the agreement all ‘Canadian Tire Credit Card’ and ‘Options MasterCard’ accounts will be converted to the TSYS ‘TS2 Cardholder System’. CTAL is the fifth largest MasterCard issuer in Canada with 431 stores nationwide.