Building Web Storefronts

From quilters to cigar makers to big-time retailers, almost every merchant can find new customers on the Internet. PC Magazine, the nation’s largest computer magazine, includes a special e-shopping feature in their upcoming November 18th issue that evaluates all the tools cyber-shopkeepers need as well as the magazine’s top 30 retail web sites for both good examples and good bargains.

In order to test the major packages for creating Web stores, PC Magazine testers created a dozen clothing stores to see how easy it was to create, as well as how robust they are for supporting and maintaining the site.

“For small and mid-sized businesses, setting up an electronic storefront has been an expensive proposition,” said Michael Miller, editor-in-chief. “Now though, there are a number of software solutions for every sized business and we put each to the PC Labs’ test,” he added.

In “Open for Business,” PC Magazine reviews twelve web storefront creation software packages from those designed for small businesses to packages designed for larger retailers with more inventory. Some of the newest storefront creation packages are geared for small to mid-sized retail businesses and many are hosted by the vendor or an Internet service provider (ISP) for easy management.

“Most of the major retail sites on the Web today cost $100,000 or more to create,” said Diane Jecker, project editor for the feature. “With these packages, small businesses can build sophisticated sites for a fraction of that cost,” she added.

For small businesses thinking about reaching cyber-shoppers this holiday season — its not too late, noted Miller. PC Magazine gave its coveted Editors’ Choice Award to Viaweb Store 3.0 which lets users build a Web store in less than 10 minutes. Because Viaweb is solely vendor-hosted, merchants need only an Internet connection and a browser to develop their store. The editors also cite Viaweb’s strong editing, publishing and reporting features as well as affordable pricing as important factors in making it an Editors’ Choice.

For larger stores, PC Magazine recommends Electronic Commerce 3.0, Professional Edition from iCat and gave it the Editors’ Choice. The editors cited the programs great selection of storefront templates as well as strong database support and the ability to administer the site remotely via a browser. More full-scale packages like Electronic Commerce offer transaction and security features that let users take all types of payments as well as calculate charges; and administration and sales management features, allowing users to analyze data such as visitor tracking and generate sales reports.

PC Magazine’s Tips For Would-be Cyber Merchants

— Look for Web storefront creation software that integrate the various components of a storefront together: web server, store administrator, database server, shopping carts, order processing, site analysis/reporting and links to old legacy systems if needed.

— Visit the thirty top retail Web sites chosen by PC Magazine for ideas on design and implementation

— Creating a customized store takes some work, regardless of the tools. Don’t try to do it from scratch — start with the sample stores provided.

— Don’t overlook the entry-level storefront packages even if you are a bigger operation. Many are capable of producing pretty slick sites with far less aggravation.

— Small shop owners should look at the offerings of online services such as America Online. They host your site so you don’t need your own servers, and provide templates to help you build your store. They also provide grocery cart and credit card transaction processing features.

— Larger businesses should also look to the major ISPs that provide shared server services as well as secure transaction processing and good site development tools.

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VISA Exec Joins iPass

iPass Inc. today announced G. Bradford Solso as its new chief financial officer.

Solso, the former senior vice president of Visa International, is responsible for all finance and administration functions for iPass and its worldwide Internet-based transaction settlement services. The iPass third-party settlement service enables global Internet roaming for ISPs and global remote intranet access for enterprises. Solso is also responsible for developing the company’s investor relations program.

“We have been diligently and patiently searching for a candidate with Brad’s expertise for quite some time,” said Chris Moore, iPass president and CEO. “Brad’s experience in managing organizational growth and high-volume transaction settlement services and his broad knowledge-base in finance, operations and marketing will play a critical role in the strategic and business planning for the entire company.”

While at Visa International, Solso’s primary responsibilities included managing high-volume financial settlement operations, capital market activities and investor relations. In his previous position at Visa, Solso managed settlement volume growth of over 20 percent compounded annually reaching in excess of $2 billion per day and supported a market of 173 currencies.

“I am excited to join the iPass team and support the rapid growth of its global service,” Solso said. “iPass, like Visa, was established on a secure, scaleable authorization and settlement architecture and a foundation of relationships with service providers worldwide to enable them to provide seamless global access services for their customers. Settlement management is really all about bringing these participants together to facilitate their ability to immediately become global access providers without complex relationships with hundreds of other providers.”

The iPass service, a third-party authorization and settlement utility, helps ISPs fill their natural gaps in service coverage by leveraging the network infrastructure of hundreds of other ISP participants around the world. ISPs must only maintain one relationship with iPass and they gain access to the Internet through the world’s largest network.

The service includes user authorization, settlement, accounting and usage reporting between these participants and creates a simple, economical, highly secure and scaleable solution for ISPs to avoid otherwise complex and expensive multilateral service relationships.

The iPass service is made possible through the ISP participants worldwide and the iPass authentication and accounting technology, which works with central transaction centers to securely route authentication requests between participants and track Internet usage of each subscriber.

Solso’s expertise expands beyond settlement management to his experience as Vice President and General Manager of Field Operations at C-ats Software in Palo Alto, Calif., where he was responsible for all sales and customer support functions for the multi-national, public software company.

iPass Inc.

iPass is the worldwide leader of secure third-party settlement for Internet-based services including global Internet roaming, remote access to corporate networks and emerging applications. iPass enables ACCESS ANYWHERE with a local call through the world’s largest network of 1,850 access points in 150 countries. iPass is headquartered in Silicon Valley with financial backing from Accel Partners, Crosspoint Ventures and Asia Pacific Ventures. Additional information can be found about iPass at .

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GCA to Set Mark and Standards

The Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA) today announced at its annual meeting its intentions to institute a service mark plan which, when completed, will allow consumers to recognize “GCA approved” smart cards and terminals as products which fulfill a strict global interoperability requirement set out by the GCA to ensure service and protection levels worldwide. A certification process to review and validate products using the service mark and to then administer adherence to global interoperability specifications is under evaluation.

“The international telephone network infrastructure and the ubiquitous ‘dialtone’ is a good model to think of for the transport of data across borders, oceans, businesses and industries. The key will be the GCA service mark. It will be our version of ‘smart card dialtone’ and it will not be owned by any one industry, company, or for profit organization,” according to David Anastasi, president and a member of the board of the GCA as well as vice president and general manager at U S WEST Public Services.

“Our vision is quite simple, within the next five years smart/chipcard consumers will be able to access their personalized applications anytime, anywhere and for many functions,” added Anastasi. “The Global Chipcard Alliance’s mission is to provide to consumers worldwide an easy way to identify the devices where their cards are accepted, serviced and protected. The GCA wants to ensure that a customer’s needs are met whether he/she is just around the block or in another part of the world,” he continued.

“Consumers are looking to consolidate many cards and many applications into fewer cards. Interoperability will allow the use of different cards on different terminals for different applications — that is the industry’s biggest challenge today,” said Dr. Abdul Rahman Bidin, general manager, Telekom Malaysia Multimedia and a GCA board member. “Standards and operating guidelines are needed to link multiple operating environments beginning with single card/single application and moving through open and closed multiple application systems until we reach a global open interoperable multi- application environment,” he added.

Acceptance of the standards and guidelines outlined for worldwide use by the GCA’s service mark will mean that more and more applications from e- commerce, data communications, mass transit, travel & entertainment and security will become available as manufacturers and vendors see market growth. Interoperability standards also mean less risk in R&D and less of a chance of obsolescence in smart card investments. Other sectors, not yet using smart/chipcard technology, will be encouraged by the open standards to enter this market area. Momentum for global interoperable, multi-application cards and services is expected to quicken as consumer acceptance grows.

“This service mark provides us with a simple, easy to understand tool to communicate not only the benefits of memory card interoperability today; but also it will provide us with a tool to move toward our ultimate vision of worldwide open interoperability for multi-application cards,” added Matt Scheuing, vice president, Marketing & Business Development, U S WEST Public Services and chairperson of the GCA’s Interoperability Committee. “Consumers will quickly see the value of this service mark as we launch it in conjunction with our cross member agreements,” he added.

Progress toward global interoperability from GCA members is reflected in the first wide scale agreement between PTT Telecom/Netherlands and Deutsche Telekom announced earlier this year. U S WEST is also working with GTE in a similar agreement, and one in which Bell Canada has recently been added, to ‘begin to blanket North America with working smart/chipcards.’

To commemorate the significance of this announcement, the six founding members of the GCA (U S WEST, PTT Telecom/Netherlands, GTE, Deutsche Telekom, Malaysia Telekom and Bell Canada) created the ‘GCA Smart Card Collector’s Set complete with a sample of each member’s smart card printed with the new service mark printed on them. A framed set was presented by David Anastasi to Datuk Leo Moggie, Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Posts of Malaysia. Mr. Moggie officially opened Smart Cards Malaysia ’97 which was hosted by Telekom Malaysia and coordinated and presented by the GCA.

“No one industry or company owns smart/chipcards. The cards are not really a separate product nor an industry on their own; but rather an enabler connected to many already existing industries, businesses and applications,” said Gerard Ketelaar, manager of the Interactive Services Group at PTT Telecom/Netherlands and vice president of the GCA.

“If the market continues to have issues in interoperability it may not develop as fast or develop to it’s full potential and consumers will rebel if the issues of security and privacy are not addressed,” he continued.

“Today only minimal aspects of the standard are covered and that is a problem. The GCA will work with businesses to obtain interoperability agreements which will help define standards and put these problems to rest, ” he added. “Public Advocacy is critical to the GCA. We intend to work towards self regulated consumer protection, a pro-competitive stance and a level playing field in the advancement of multi-application smart/chipcards,” concluded Ketelaar.

Established in 1996, the Global Chipcard Alliance’s members include: PTT Telecom Netherlands, U S WEST Communications, GTE Telephone Operations, Bell Canada, Telekom Malaysia, Deutsche Telekom, American Express, Microsoft, IBM, Telstra, Northern Telecom, Landis & Gyr, Oracle, GemPlus, SPT Telecom, and Elcotel.

For more information on the Global Chipcard Alliance see:

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Life Insurance Secured Card

Default Proof Credit Card System Inc. (OTC BB:DPRS) will be looking forward to the market interest of the ATM’s manufacturers as well as the financial institutions in the banking industry for this revolutionary patent pending utility that will significantly reduce, if not totally eliminate the debit/credit cards issuing institutions’ delinquencies, charge-offs and paperwork. Regardless of the interest free feature, this debit/credit card will be very profitable to the issuing financial institutions.

The company has a patented RESOURCE(r) SYSTEM which is a default proof system providing individuals with a convenient method of obtaining lower cost, immediate access to instant credit — which is collateralized by the equity in cash values of their life insurance policies.

The consumer benefits, besides not paying interest charges, will be immeasurable.

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VISA’s 007 Strategy

Secret Agent 007 speeds through a series of security clearances, but is denied his caviar when he attempts to pay by check. As the most recent star in Visa’s check card commercial series, James Bond finally meets his match at the Secret Service snack bar stand where he is asked for ID. Created by BBDO New York, the 60-second spot breaks nationally tonight during Monday Night Football on ABC-TV.

The James Bond spot follows the familiar Visa check card theme that depicts a celebrity having difficulty paying by check. “Despite having his ID confirmed through hi-tech voice, hand and eye scanners, James Bond faces a greater challenge when he attempts to pay by check without identification,” said Liz Silver, vice president, advertising, Visa U.S.A. “Unfortunately not everyone has a ‘Q’ to handle the details.”

“The humorous role celebrities play in this series reinforces our strategy to illustrate the ease of using a Visa check card,” said Silver. Other celebrities who have starred in the series include Shirley MacLaine, Bob Dole and Deion Sanders.

“We are really thrilled about our promotional alliance with Visa and particularly with the quality and style of the actual commercial. Humor is an important part of the James Bond phenomenon and this campaign really captures the attitude and sets up the new movie well,” said Karen Sortito, executive vice president of worldwide promotions and corporate sponsorships, MGM.

Taking a page from its sports and events portfolio, Visa is using an integrated marketing approach to promote its alliance with the new James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies. Beginning in December, Visa will introduce a print advertisement campaign geared toward Generation X that will run in publications including Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly and Cosmopolitan. The print advertisement will showcase the items found in James Bond’s wallet, including his passport and license to kill.

In addition to its advertising efforts, Visa is partnering with a number of member banks to run the “007 Sweepstakes” during the month of December. – The sweepstakes will award a trip for two to the premiere of Tomorrow Never Dies in Los Angeles next month. Furthermore, cardholders who make purchases with their Visa check card seven more times in December than they did in November will be awarded a Sam Goody/Music Land gift certificate for the newly released James Bond movie Golden Eye, or any other MGM/UA movie of their choice. This partnership marks the first major movie studio tie-in program for the payment system industry leader.

The 18th installment of the longest running film franchise in history, Tomorrow Never Dies stars Pierce Brosnan in his second outing as the legendary Agent 007. Jonathan Pryce stars as a dangerously powerful media mogul, with Teri Hatcher as his wife who has a secret past with James Bond, and Michelle Yeoh starring as a Chinese Agent who becomes a formidable ally to 007. The cast also features returning Bond veterans Desmond Llewelyn as ‘Q,’ Dame Judi Dench as ‘M’ and Samantha Bond as Miss Moneypenny. The movie releases December 19.

Since the check card’s introduction in 1979, the number of Visa check cardholders has soared from 917,000 to 50.4 million today. Visa projects that consumers will make a record 1.8 billion transactions with the Visa check card in 1997. By 2001, Visa estimates that debit cards will account for 10 percent, or 5.5 billion, of all consumer transactions in the United States.

As consumers’ acceptance of the Visa check card has soared, so has the number of issuers. More than 4,500 financial institutions now issue the Visa check card.

In an effort to provide consumers with the safest-possible payment products, Visa U.S.A. recently announced groundbreaking new cardholder protections, including a zero liability policy for Visa cardholders who report loss, theft or unauthorized use of their cards within two business days of discovery, and a maximum consumer liability cap of $50.

Visa is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year. Visa’s nearly 600 million cards are accepted at more than 14 million worldwide locations, including 380,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is

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Citibank’s Endorses T&E Software

Portable Software Corporation, the worldwide leader in travel and entertainment (T&E) expense management and makers of the Xpense Management Solution(TM) (XMS) — the leading client/server travel expense management software — today announced that it has been selected by Citibank Commercial Cards as a recommended provider of T&E expense management software to Citibank’s corporate card customers around the world. The combined services work to bring corporate customers the ability to reduce T&E costs, which typically represent a company’s third largest controllable cost.

Portable Software’s Xpense Management Solution is the first choice of Fortune 1000 and multinational companies for travel expense automation. XMS(TM) is an integrated enterprise-wide solution that dramatically reduces travel and entertainment costs by automating the entire expense management process — from expense report preparation, approval, and processing through systems integration and data analysis. With XMS, preparing expense reports is easier and business travelers are reimbursed faster. Accounting is more productive because expense reports are delivered on-line and automatically link to financial systems. With robust expense data easily accessible, management can analyze T&E spending and negotiate better vendor rates. Moreover, XMS seamlessly integrates with existing and future corporate charge cards and financial, travel, and operating systems.

Citibank, the leading provider of consumer credit cards worldwide, is also a top issuer of commercial cards to the corporate marketplace. Citibank Commercial Cards enables its customers to increase productivity while maximizing payment reengineering benefits. Citibank’s partnership approach with its clients provides unparalleled support from program implementation to full company-wide roll out and ensures corporate objectives are achieved. With this team approach, clients can also benefit from Citibank’s expertise in bankcards, cash management, technology and global service delivery.

“Citibank Commercial Cards works hard to offer our customers complementary tools to increase their corporate payment productivity,” explained Marlene Lieberman, a vice president with Citibank’s Commercial Card Services division. “We found XMS to be the most effective expense management solution in the market and believe that Portable Software provides the best match for further enabling our corporate customers to maximize payment reengineering benefits.”

“Both Portable Software and Citibank are committed to servicing customers with leading business solutions,” said Fred Ingham, Portable Software’s vice president of business development. “We are pleased that this leading corporate card issuer has chosen to extend its offerings with the leading T&E expense management solution.”

Citibank Commercial Cards has headquarters in New York and offices across the United States. With Citibank’s global reach, its commercial cards’ clients have worldwide options for corporate card issuance with detailed reporting.

Since 1993 Portable Software Corporation has been developing and marketing travel and entertainment automation software and services that serve the entire enterprise, from business travelers to corporate accounting departments. Its flagship product, the Xpense Management Solution (XMS), has been chosen by more Fortune 1000 and multinational companies for enterprise-wide T&E expense automation than any other travel expense solution. As the recognized worldwide leader in T&E expense automation, Portable Software has already automated travel expense management processes in over 250 companies around the world. Portable Software Corporation is headquartered in Redmond, WA, USA with offices in Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and London. For more information on Portable Software Corporation, contact the company at 14715 N.E. 95th Street, Redmond, WA 98052. Or call: 425/702-8808; or the toll-free number: 800/478-7411; or fax: 425/702-8828; or reach Portable Software Corporation via the World Wide Web at [www.xpense.com][1] . Portable Software UK Limited, the European headquarters for Portable Software, can be reached by phoning: 44-171-329-2981.

Xpense Management Solution, XMS, and QuickXpense Enterprise are trademarks of Portable Software Corporation. All other company or product names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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

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New Debit Card Brochure

The National Consumers League has released a new consumer education brochure, “Debit Cards: Beyond Cash & Credit.” The brochure explains the pros and cons of debit cards.

“By the year 2000, it is expected that two-thirds of American households will have a debit card,” said NCL President Linda F. Golodner. “Educating consumers about how these cards work and how they are different from both automated teller machine (ATM) and credit cards is extremely important to avoid confusion.”

The brochure examines the differences between a debit card and a credit card; outlines what you should know about debit cards; includes seven tips for responsible use as well as common sense precautions. The brochure also includes the most up-to-date information on card protection in case of loss, theft or unauthorized use.

“Debit cards offer the consumer many conveniences. Nevertheless, consumers should remember that debit cards access money directly from their checking account,” according to Golodner. “Our brochure continues the League’s commitment to educating consumers about new trends in money management.”

Single copies are available free of cost by contacting the National Consumers League at 800-355-9NCL. Bulk copies are available at reduced rates by contacting Theresa Smith, publications coordinator, 202-835-3323.

The brochure was created by the National Consumers League with a grant from Visa U.S.A.

“Visa and its member banks are committed to consumer education, and to providing consumers with the most secure, convenient and accepted payment products in the marketplace. We are delighted to work with the National Consumers League to further educate consumers,” said Michael Beindorff, executive vice president, Marketing and Product Management, Visa U.S.A.

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization, NCL’s three-pronged approach of research, education and advocacy has made it an effective representative and source of information for consumers and workers. NCL is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to representing consumers on issues of concerns.

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VeriSmart & Visa

VeriFone, Inc., the leading global provider of secure electronic payment technology, today announced that the VeriSmart System, its flexible consumer smart card solution, will be included in the Visa International Partner Program for loading stored value cards from home.

“Visa International is working closely with VeriFone and we are delighted to add yet another option to our comprehensive smart card initiatives,” said Bernard Morvant, vice president, stored value products Visa International.

The VeriSmart System is a scaleable client/server technology that enables financial institutions, telecommunications companies and other service providers to implement a complete multi-application consumer smart card solution seamlessly, from processor to consumer. Once a consumer appliance connects to the server, the appliance automatically accesses the latest smart card applications, providing the flexibility for integrating future smart card capabilities into the existing architecture.

“The powerful combination of Visa’s smart card leadership, and VeriFone’s flexible VeriSmart System, will provide Visa member financial institutions with an innovative solution for next generation chip card applications,” said Thomas J. Kilcoyne, vice president and general manager, consumer systems division at VeriFone. “The VeriSmart System, with its open architecture, allows member banks to interface with a variety of consumer appliances and applications in order to quickly respond to changing service demands, evolving technologies and new market opportunities.”

The VeriSmart System allows consumers to load digital cash and other information to their cards from the privacy and security of their homes. The VeriSmart System is part of the smart card program in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York, where Visa USA, Citibank, Chase Manhattan Bank and MasterCard International, Inc., have joined forces to bring smart cards to consumers. Citibank is using the VeriSmart System in that program, providing VeriFone’s Personal ATM appliances to thousands of consumers for reloading Visa Cash onto smart cards in their home.

Company Backgrounds

VeriFone, Inc., (), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Company, is the leading global provider of secure electronic payment solutions for financial institutions, merchants and consumers. VeriFone has shipped more than six million electronic payment systems, which are used in over 100 countries.

Visa International, (), “the world’s best way to pay,” is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders and the global economy. As the leader in emerging products, Visa has 70 chip programs underway worldwide with 21 million chip cards issued, including more than 7 million Visa Cash cards.

It is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction programs in more than 25 countries for secure Internet commerce. Visa’s 600 million cards, generating over US$1 trillion in annual volume, are accepted at more than 14 million worldwide locations, including Visa’s nearly 370,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network.

The Visa Partner Program is designed to help its member financial institutions migrate to chip-based technologies and to take full advantage of opportunities in electronic commerce. It is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(TM) programs in more than 25 countries for secure Internet commerce.

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NJ Hospital Private Label Card

The New Jersey Hospital Association and Health Charge of Skokie, Ill., announced the execution of an agreement to provide the Health Charge private label credit card program to hospitals and other healthcare providers. The private label credit card systems reduce costs through improved receivables management.

“We are pleased to offer this program to our members because it is a proven method of improving hospital cash flow,” said William D. Kennedy, vice president of the New Jersey Hospital Association’s Corporate Services. “This program will help healthcare providers better manage their business office and provides valuable assistance to patients with substantial medical bills.”

“Health Charge is delighted to have the opportunity to work with the New Jersey Hospital Association,” said Christopher Gillock, chief executive officer of the Health Charge Corporation. “Health Charge Corporation provides an easy-to-manage credit program at competitive rates to patients seeking to finance their deductibles, co- payments and uninsured medical expenses. Our program will help healthcare providers improve collections, consistent with favorable patient relations.”

The New Jersey Hospital Association, based in Princeton, is a trade group committed to helping its 115 member hospitals provide accessible, affordable and quality healthcare in their communities through advocacy, education, research and policy development. Health Charge Corporation, founded in 1979, is affiliated with HealthCare Financial Partners, Inc. The company provides private label credit card programs, consulting services and information systems to hospitals and other healthcare providers nationwide.

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