Sierra MasterCard

Sierra On-Line, Inc. and MBNA rolled out the ‘Sierra MasterCard’ Wednesday.. Upon first use of the card for a purchase or cash advance, customers will receive their choice of one free Sierra software product from 23 top selections. Customers also receive an automatic 10% discount on all Sierra software products. Additionally, cardholders earn points based on 1% of all purchases charged to the Sierra MasterCard. After accumulating 20 points, a $20 coupon will be sent to the customer, redeemable for any Sierra software purchased through mail order. The no-annual-fee Sierra MasterCard will be available in two versions: Platinum Plus and Preferred and will offer a five-month promo rate on cash advances and balance transfers.

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Japan’s ATM War

Competition is heating up in Japan between the Posts Ministry and private sector banks over ATM service hours and fees. Japan’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications requested a 6 billion yen appropriation this morning to expand ATM service to weekends and holidays. The Posts Ministry wants to open nearly 6,000 ATMs or about 30% of its ATM network on weekends and holidays. The move may also force down ATM fees. Japan’s bank-owned ATMs currently charge 105 yen per transaction after 2pm on Saturdays and on holidays. The Posts Ministry indicated it will hold to its policy of no surcharge for the expanded convenience. Last week the Posts Ministry requested appropriations to link its ATMS with private-sector ATM networks.

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Entrust SET Extension

In keeping with its objective to provide unmatched security for applications that are driving the industry, Entrust Technologies, the leading provider of Certification Authority (CA) and key management products, today announced a Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) extension to its Entrust/Manager(TM) software. By adding the SET capability, Entrust will be the only company offering certificate-based security solutions all from a single Entrust public-key infrastructure (PKI) to serve intranet and Web-based needs and SET applications.

With the SET extension, an Entrust PKI will allow companies such as banks, large retailers or other credit card-issuing organizations to become a SET CA, permitting them to issue certificates to consumers, merchants and payment gateways involved in SET transactions. SET certificates accompanying consumer and merchant software applications provide strong authentication through digital signatures and transaction confidentiality through encryption, paving the way for secure electronic commerce.

“Doing business over the Internet will be the norm in the near future. SET opens doors to merchants and consumers who want to conduct business in this manner securely and with confidence,” said John Ryan, Entrust Technologies’ president and chief executive officer. “With its new SET functionality, Entrust is demonstrating its capability to evolve its platform to support new industry standards.”

The SET extension to Entrust/Manager(TM) will adhere to the PKIX-3 standard for certificate management services. With its SET functionality, Entrust will give businesses a comprehensive solution that issues SET 1.0 certificates; “enterprise” certificates for desktop applications, such as e-mail, e-form and remote LAN access, to secure corporate intranets; and Web certificates, used by browsers and servers to secure Web sessions with the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. This all-in-one Entrust solution will give customers the power to deploy security for virtually any network application.

With the new SET capabilities, Entrust will have the following distinguishing features:

Standards compliance: Entrust adheres to the SET 1.0 protocol, issues X.509 version 3 certificates and supports the PKIX-3 certificate management standard. In addition, Entrust Technologies plans to test Entrust’s SET capabilities with Tenth Mountain Systems, Inc. (TMS), the SET Compliance Authority.

Scalability: The SET-enabled Entrust product supports a distributed registration authority infrastructure, important for large-scale implementations; and

Interoperability: Entrust’s SET functionality supports cross-certification with superior CAs in the SET hierarchy.

Availability

Entrust/Manager software with SET capability will be available in the fourth quarter of 1997.

Entrust Technologies is dedicated to ensuring the privacy and authenticity of data communications enterprisewide. Its award-winning public-key infrastructure technology combines encryption and digital signature capabilities with fully automated key management. Widely used by financial institutions, government agencies and high-tech corporations, the Entrust software family provides a complete security solution across multiple platforms for desktops, corporate networks, intranets and the Internet. Entrust Technologies is headquartered in Richardson, Texas and Ottawa, Canada with offices in New York, California, North Carolina, Virginia, and the U.K. It is a majority-owned subsidiary of Nortel (Northern Telecom).

Visit Entrust Technologies’ Web site at [http://www.entrust.com ][1]

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

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MedPlus Card Gets Financial Support

MedPlus Corp. (OTC BB:MDPL) (“MDPL”) announced an alliance with Stone Asset Management Inc. (“SAM”) an investment banking firm.

MedPlus Corp. has made rapid headway in their continuing effort to facilitate future growth through capital restructuring. On July 28, MedPlus has entered into an alliance with the Dallas investment banking firm of Stone Asset Management Inc.

This dynamic company is in the process of introducing MedPlus to domestic and international investing institutions and broker-dealers with the objective of increasing our concern’s liquidity by expanding financing endeavors throughout the capital markets.

In order to increase investor awareness of MedPlus, SAM has initiated a number of heristic efforts and are eagerly awaiting the results.

MedPlus Corp. is the only publicly traded company in the Health Finance Organization industry. The company is in the business of providing financing to patients in the medical community. This is done by providing instant approval at the time of service through the company’s Private Label Credit Card.

In addition, the company will finance all self-pay charges, bill the patient, and collect and disperse Provider funds that originate within the consumer driven program.

MedPlus is also launching and marketing its “consumer driven” medical card. MedPlus seeks to have income, on a proforma basis, of $2.8 million, $11.5 million and $34.7 million in years 1, 2, and 3 respectively, without the acquisition of the insurance company.

Revenues of $6.1 million, $23.9 million, and $78.2 million are possible on a proforma basis in years 1, 2, and 3 with the acquisition of the insurance company, with an EBIT of $56.9 million in year 3.

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Matsushita Consolidates

Yet another breaking story in Japan this morning is Tuesday’s announcement by Matsushita Electric Industrial Company that it will consolidate its Matsushita Credit Service Company and nine other regional card issuing subsidiaries into one Osaka-based firm, Masushita Credit Company, effective Oct. 1. Matsushita has been on a cost-cutting campaign and has launched efforts to improve customer service.

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ARKSYS Signs Sogebank

Today, ARKSYS announced an agreement with Sogebank (Societe Generale Haitienne de Banque S.A.) of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, to provide software to enable the bank to integrate its ATM and EFT network connection operations resulting in global account access for Sogebank cardholders.

Established in 1986, Sogebank, one of Haiti’s most progressive banks, is the only bank in Haiti to offer proprietary ATM services. The bank’s retail delivery operations also include ARKSYS’ POS Management. Integrated Credit Card System and EFT network connections to Visa and MasterCard. ARKSYS software provides an interface to the bank’s core accounting system, communications with its Diebold ATMs, debit card processing and provides mini- statements at ATMs. ARKSYS’ software operates on the IBM AS/400 platform.

Founded in 1975, ARKSYS is a privately-held software company headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA and is a premier provider of effective payment and financial transaction delivery systems. The company offers comprehensive ATM, POS and debit card packages, EFT network solutions, interactive voice response, smart card consulting, international credit card systems, and Internet and intranet banking offerings for cash management and home banking.

For more information, contact Rob Roedel, Director of Public Relations, Voice 501-218-7226 (USA)/Fax 501-218-7302 (USA)/E-mail rroedel@arksys.com or by mail at 17500 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, AR USA 72211. ARKSYS’ home page address is [http://www.arksys.com .][1]

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

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Internet Mall Japan

San Jose-based The Internet Mall announced Tuesday the opening of The Internet Mall Japan. About 15% of the Internet Mall’s international traffic currently comes from Japan. More than 50 Japanese retailers will now participate in the service that currently provides consumers with links to over 27,000 on-line stores. The Internet Mall uses the ‘OrderEasy Secure Internet Shopping Service’, a proprietary back-end transaction system, for handling merchant online sales. The Japanese Mall was created in partnership with Japanese software developer Kuni Research International..

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VISA CEO Joins Internet Firm Board

BroadVision(R), Inc. (Nasdaq: BVSN) the leading supplier of enterprise-class solutions for personalized, one-to-one business applications on the global Internet, announced that Carl Pascarella, president and chief executive officer of Visa U.S.A has been elected to the Company’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Pascarella, who joined Visa in January, 1983 as assistant chief general manager of the Asia-Pacific region and was appointed president and CEO of Visa U.S.A in August, 1993, brings significant management, marketing and operational experience to BroadVision. Visa, an industry powerhouse, is the world’s largest and fastest-growing consumer payment system with more than 213 million cards issued in the U.S. and 402 million cards issued worldwide.

“Carl Pascarella is a savvy business strategist who brings decades of experience in building one of the fastest growing and most successful companies in the world,” said Pehong Chen, president and CEO of BroadVision, Inc. “As the top executive in one of the world’s leading financial services companies, we expect Carl to contribute significantly to BroadVision’s strategy and growth, particularly in financial services, which has become a major focus for BroadVision over the past 12 months.”

“The Internet is forcing companies around the globe to rethink their business strategies and make aggressive technology investments to stay competitive,” said Pascarella. “I am convinced that BroadVision’s intelligent, one-to-one applications for Internet commerce, financial services, and knowledge management are leading the next wave in mission-critical information systems. With my experience in banking, credit card, financial services, and retail industries within which Visa now has a commanding leadership position, I am well-prepared to help move BroadVision and its Internet application solutions into the mainstream.”

Before joining Visa, Pascarella was Vice President of the International Division at Crocker National Bank. He also served as Vice President of Metropolitan Bank at Bankers Trust Company. He is a graduate of the University of Buffalo and earned his MBA from Stanford University.

Mr. Pascarella joins Dr. Pehong Chen, Chairman, President, and CEO of BroadVision, David Anderson, General Partner at Sutter Hill Ventures, Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of Singapore Telecom, and Dr. Yogen Dalal, General Partner, Mayfield Fund on BroadVision’s Board of Directors.

About BroadVision

Founded in 1993, BroadVision, Inc. is the leading supplier of application solutions for enterprise class, personalized business on the global Internet, Intranets, and Extranets. These solutions enable companies to rapidly deploy and cost-effectively operate secure, scalable, intelligent, and flexible electronic commerce, customer self-service, and knowledge management applications over the Net. The BroadVision One-To-One(TM) application system and One-To-One WebApps(TM) family of applications support large user and content databases, high transaction volumes, intelligent agent matching, and seamless integration with existing business systems. BroadVision applications also incorporate a suite of powerful management tools that enable non-technical business people to dynamically manage content and control application behavior from their desktops. BroadVision software products are fully integrated with consulting services, training, and technical support to provide comprehensive, end-to-end solutions for the financial services, high technology, retail/distribution, and telecommunications industries. BroadVision is headquartered in Los Altos, Calif. and maintains an extensive network of subsidiaries and licensed resellers in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The company can be reached at 415-943-3600 or on the World Wide Web at [http://www.broadvision.com.][1]

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

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Smart Card Toolkit

Washington state-based The Pathways Group, announced the successful Beta test of its smart card toolkit Tuesday. The smart card toolkit has been implemented to develop real world applications which have been tested by cardholders in the field. The toolkit includes code, protected by a copyright owned by Pathways, called ‘E-Bank’. This process enables smart card funds to be replenished, independent of traditional cash transfer methods. The ‘Card Handle’r tools build portable software code, allowing for virtually any microprocessor based smart card to be introduced to an application without the need for reprogramming. Multiple purses and multiple applications may be delivered on a single smart card through the Pathways concept.

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Planet 1 PrePaid Card

Personal Communications’ introduced a new Planet 1 Prepaid Voice Service for personal satellite telephones. With this new service, anyone using a ‘Planet 1 Smart Card’ can place calls with a prepaid calling card available in 50, 150 or 500 minute increments from COMSAT and Planet 1 Global Distribution Partners worldwide. Cards can be purchased with cash or credit, and can be refreshed by adding money to the account.

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Indonesian Card Bonds Downgraded

Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. (DCR) has downgraded the long-term senior unsecured debt rating of P.T. Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) from ‘BBB’ (Triple-B) to ‘BBB-‘ (Triple-B-Minus). This downgrade applies to both the local and foreign currency obligations of BII. Further, the rating of BII’s US$140 million U.S. dollar-denominated future credit card receivable transaction has been downgraded from ‘BBB+’ (Triple-B-Plus) to ‘BBB’ (Triple-B). The rating of the future flow credit card transaction is based primarily on the credit quality of the originator, BII.

The downgrade of BII’s unsecured debt reflects DCR’s concerns over Indonesia’s currency instability, high interest rates and eroding economic outlook. The continuation of these systemic issues will place increased pressure on BII’s asset quality, profitability and liquidity. BII is the flagship company of the financial arm of the Sinar Mas Group (the Group), the second-largest conglomerate in Indonesia with diversified business interests including pulp and paper, agribusiness, property and real estate, and financial services.

In view of the tight liquidity situation in the Indonesian markets, one additional concern is the extent to which BII’s strong association with the Group may result in an increase in related party lending. While related party lending was insignificant as of midyear 1997 at 0.5 percent of total loans, as recently as 1994 it equaled 10.3 percent of total loans, or 84 percent of total shareholders’ equity. The low percentage of related party lending as of midyear 1997 reflected a reduction in related party lending as well as a capital increase of 967 million rupiah from the limited public offering of shares in February 1997.

Following Thailand and the Philippines, Indonesia free floated its currency in mid-August, which resulted in a substantial devaluation of the rupiah. Since the beginning of the year, the rupiah has devalued almost 30 percent. While the stability of Asian currencies remains uncertain, the extent of the rupiah devaluation has accelerated a deep-rooted concern about the Indonesian banking system: asset quality problems, solvency of smaller-size banks, overall competitiveness/efficiency and its substantial exposure to foreign currency funding.

DCR’s retention of an investment-grade rating for BII reflects, in part, the fact that its liquidity proved to be ample in managing through the initial economic shock. Further, BII’s funding mix dampened the impact of the extreme currency devaluation. However, a prolonged period of rate volatility and the likelihood that rates will stabilize well above previous levels will place considerable burden on BII’s borrowers’ debt repayment capacity.

DCR expects that it will take a period of several weeks for market conditions to begin to move toward equilibrium. Positively, BII enters this challenging period with solid reserves and a recently strengthened capital base. In addition to its above-average operating fundamentals, BII’s solid market position should also assist it in weathering the current market instability. However, we will continue to monitor the ongoing regional economic environment and its influence on BII’s financial condition and take rating action as necessary.

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