Discover Card Bonds Rated

Discover Card Master Trust I’s $750 million floating rate class A credit card pass-through certificates, series 1997-1, are expected to be rated ‘AAA’ by Fitch. The corresponding $39.5 million floating rate class B certificates are expected to be rated ‘A+’. With a weighted average life of five years, the securities represent the trust’s first issuance of the year and first since the merger with Morgan Stanley.

Series 1997-1 ratings reflect the high quality of the receivables generated by Discover Card accountholders, the 12.5% available subordinated amount supporting class A, the 7.5% cash collateral account available for class B, the sound legal and cash flow structures, and the excellent servicing provided by Greenwood Trust Co.

Economic and credit stress scenarios were applied to the collateral pool to determine the appropriate levels of credit enhancement for the series 1997- 1 certificates. One of the more severe ‘AAA’ scenarios involved decreasing yield by more than 30%, cutting payment rates by 40% and increasing defaults to 31%. The less stringent ‘A+’ stress decreased yield by 25%, payment rates by 30% and increased defaults to 23%. Under the transaction’s current enhancement, the bonds could withstand these scenarios and still make full payments of principal and interest to class A and class B investors.

Investors are protected from a deterioration in asset quality, seller insolvency or servicer default by early amortization triggers. If certain adverse events occur, an accelerated payout of investor principal will begin possibly earlier than expected. During such an amortization event, finance charge collections normally allocated to the seller will become available to cover trust expenses, due to a structural feature that fixes the finance charge allocation based upon pre-amortization invested amounts. Allocating finance charge collections in this manner allows funds, otherwise designated to the seller, to flow through to the trust. Greenwood has the option to allocate collections on a floating basis, which would require enhancement levels to be increased to 17.5% for class A and 12.5% for class B.

Investors holding class A certificates will receive monthly interest payments of one-month LIBOR plus 0.09% throughout the revolving and accumulation periods and on the expected final payment date, provided an early amortization event does not occur. Interest will be paid monthly to class B certificateholders at one-month LIBOR plus 0.27%. Following a variable accumulation period, principal is expected to be paid to class A on Aug. 15, 2002 and to class B one month later. The termination date is Feb. 16, 2005. As a part of Group One, series 1997-1 will share excess finance charge and principal collections with 13 other Group One series.

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Mercantec & ICVERIFY

Mercantec, Inc. [(http://www.mercantec.com)][1], the market leader in open retail electronic commerce software, and ICVERIFY, Inc., the leading provider of electronic payment software for secure, real-time credit card processing over the Internet, today announced a strategic marketing partnership aimed at offering retailers the opportunity to launch a Web store, complete with real-time credit card processing, in time for the holiday shopping season.

Mercantec SoftCart(TM) allows a merchant to add commerce to an existing Web site or build a virtual store from scratch, take an order over the Internet, and link to the merchant’s existing payment, inventory control and order entry systems. ICVERIFY’s on-line payment system communicates to more than 100 different credit card processing networks, allowing merchants to maintain their existing banking relationships and secure the best possible discount rates.

Mercantec’s ICVERIFY Connect(TM) provides seamless integration between SoftCart and ICVERIFY, thereby giving a Web merchant the ability to authorize credit card orders in real-time and build a secure database of all transactions for tracking and reporting purposes. The combination of SoftCart, ICVERIFY Connect and ICVERIFY gives merchants a fully-integrated solution to build and run an effective store on the Web.

“Mercantec SoftCart is a strong complement to ICVERIFY’s secure, on-line processing software and will be a benefit to any merchant who has — or is planning to open — a virtual store,” said Karen Tate, manager, business development at ICVERIFY. “The combined strengths of ICVERIFY and Mercantec SoftCart, integrated through Mercantec’s ICVERIFY Connect, offer merchants a solid, secure system for taking orders on the Web.”

As an incentive for merchants setting up Web stores using Mercantec SoftCart and ICVERIFY, Mercantec is offering a free ICVERIFY Connect module, a $300 value, until October 31, 1997. ICVERIFY Connect can be downloaded for free at [http://www.mercantec.com.][2] Merchants who wish to receive more information or order Mercantec SoftCart should send e-mail to [ICV@mercantec.com][3] or call (630)305-3200×2.

Ascent Solutions, Inc., a distributor of data compression software, is currently using Mercantec SoftCart and implementing Mercantec’s ICVERIFY Connect module at its Web site at [http://www.asizip.com.][4] Soon, shoppers will be able to purchase software with a credit card and download it immediately from the Ascent Solutions site.

“We chose ICVERIFY for real-time credit card authorization because the company does not charge a transaction fee per use, unlike other companies,” said Brad Churby, Webmaster at Ascent Solutions. “In addition, ICVERIFY Connect allows us to easily integrate on-line orders with our accounting software, so it saves our accounting staff time and allows us to have more control over the process.”

“Most Mercantec merchants begin generating revenue from their on-line stores within 10 days after they have installed SoftCart,” said Mary Beth Pandolfo, marketing communications manager at Mercantec, Inc. “Through Mercantec’s partnership with ICVERIFY, we are making it easy for retailers to open a Web store and take credit card orders on-line in time to take advantage of the holiday shopping season.”

About Mercantec, Inc.

Mercantec, Inc., offers a complete retail electronic commerce solution for marketing and selling goods and services on the World Wide Web. Mercantec sells its products through a worldwide network of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Web hosting service providers, Web consultants, software developers, integrators and OEMs. Mercantec has sold more than 2,700 Mercantec SoftCart(TM) licenses and has recently been selected by Lockheed Martin to complete its electronic commerce offering to RETEX — The Retail Technology Buying Consortium, a not-for-profit cooperative of 1,500 retailers. Mercantec SoftCart(TM) software utilizes StateTrack(TM) technology to provide 100 percent shopper privacy.

Mercantec SoftCart supports all known Web servers including Microsoft, Netscape, Spyglass, and APACHE. Mercantec SoftCart runs on Windows NT, Windows 95 and the most popular UNIX platforms including Sun Solaris, SGI IRIX, Linux, SCO UNIX, Free BSD and BSDI.

Mercantec was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Lisle, Ill. To learn more about Mercantec, visit the company Web site at [http://www.mercantec.com.][5]

About ICVERIFY Inc.

ICVERIFY Inc., a privately held, venture capital-funded corporation with U.S. headquarters in Oakland, Calif., and European headquarters in Munich, Germany, is the leading software solution for authorizing credit, purchase, debit/ATM card and check guarantee transactions and is used by over 250,000 physical and virtual points of sale. ICVERIFY supports more than 100 major card processing networks – representing 99% of all merchant banks – and has certifications covering the retail, restaurant, hotel, mail/telephone order, auto rental, travel and gasoline industries. The software processes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, JCB and private-label credit cards, with automatic draft capture to the merchant’s bank account. ICVERIFY’s functionality includes the ability to support multiple merchant environments. Its reporting and query features enable the merchant to track and to edit transactions efficiently and effectively. ICVERIFY can be reached through the Internet at or by calling 800-666-5777.

[1]: http://www.mercantec.com
[2]: http://www.mercantec.com
[3]: mailto:ICV@mercantec.com
[4]: http://www.asizip.com
[5]: http://www.mercantec.com

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Go Card FRAMed

Ramtron International has been selected by Cubic Corp. to provide FRAM memory technology for use in Cubic’s ‘contactless smart cards’ as a one-card-fits-all media for use in major cities around the globe beginning early in 1998. Earlier this year, Cubic completed the production design of its GO CARD, a credit card size ISO 7816 compliant carrier. Cubic fare collection systems are in operation in major cities on five continents. These systems process over 20 million passengers a day and provide secure revenue accounting in excess of $3 billion a year.

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Executive TeleCard & Pacific Bell

Executive TeleCard (Nasdaq: EXTL) announced today that it has signed an agreement to participate in Pacific Bell’s (NYSE: SBC) prepaid card program with origination from Mexico to the United States and Canada, through Executive TeleCard’s international telephony capabilities. The program will also include calls within Mexico.

Pacific Bell is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the nation, serving more than 8,000 points of distribution for its prepaid cards.*

Anthony Balinger, CEO of Executive TeleCard said, “Executive TeleCard welcomes the opportunity to join forces with Pacific Bell in assisting them in providing international origination for their prepaid cards. Executive TeleCard has built a telephony and data network which will enable the Company to rapidly continue to work together with other companies to enhance their calling and prepaid card products with global capabilities.”

Executive TeleCard, founded in 1987, is an international telecommunications service company providing direct voice and data communications services via its World Direct(TM) global network. The key to Executive TeleCard’s ongoing success is its unique partnerships with Postal Telegraph and Telephone Authorities around the world. Executive TeleCard’s products and services include: revenue sharing partnerships, global calling cards, the only true global prepaid card platform, global Internet access (eGlobe(TM)), international and domestic toll-free service (Service 800(TM)) Colorado-based long distance service (TeleCall(TM)) and multi-currency, detailed billing.

* Pacific Bell is not related to Executive TeleCard nor does it offer Long Distance Services.

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New KeyCenter Opens

In keeping with its strategy to customize KeyCenters around the lifestyles and financial needs of its clients, KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) today unveiled its first storefront brokerage office in Cleveland. The 5,000-square-foot facility, located at 1300 East 9th Street, is downtown in the Bond Court Building on the corner of East 9th Street and St. Clair.

The Cleveland Investment Center — which looks and functions like a brokerage office — features personal computers with Internet access, Reuters self-help investment screens, scrolling ticker displays with real-time stock market quotes from Bloomberg Business News and television monitors with financial news feeds from CNBC. It is staffed by securities, financial planning, private banking and small business specialists.

The new Cleveland location is the third of five such offices to open in Key cities around the country this year. Sites in Seattle and Portland, Ore. are already in operation and offices in Denver and Buffalo, NY are slated to open next month. Key plans to add five additional Investment Centers in 1998 in as yet undetermined cities.

The facility is designed for today’s consumers who want to choose for themselves the means by which they attain financial information and investment advice. The Investment Center offers an innovative mix of ‘do it yourself’ capabilities through PC-based financial planning tools and one-on-one consultation with full-time professionals. In addition to these investments- related resources, the facility has 24-hour retail banking services through automatic teller machines.

“The days of generic, one-size-fits-all bank branches at Key are rapidly fading away,” said Robert G. Jones, vice chairman of KeyBank National Association and group executive of Consumer and Small Business Banking. “The future of banking lies in customizing facilities and services, providing financial consulting and investing in the right mix of technology and human expertise for our particular clients and locations served.”

Two years ago, Key announced plans to transform its nationwide office network into more tailored KeyCenters structured around Key’s core customer groups. The company has also launched offices dedicated to small business and mature markets (defined as those over the age of 50) across its franchise.

“This state-of-the-art site breaks new ground by providing investors with easy access to critical investment information and advisory services,” said Jack Kopnisky, president of Key Investments Inc., the retail brokerage subsidiary of KeyCorp. “Our goal has been to make it easier for clients to become successful investors — and we’re accomplishing that by becoming more effective providers of investment information, products and services.”

Key Asset Management Inc. (KAM), the investment management subsidiary of KeyCorp, is the 19th largest bank-based manager of proprietary mutual funds, with over $9 billion in assets under management, as of July 30, 1997. KAM presently manages over $50 billion in equity, fixed income and money market assets for individuals, corporations and non-profit institutions.

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) is one of the nation’s largest financial services companies with assets of approximately $70 billion. Through three principal lines of business — corporate banking, consumer finance, and community banking — the Cleveland-based company provides retail and wholesale banking, investment, financing, and money management services to individuals and companies across the U.S. Key companies have a presence in 46 states from Maine to Alaska, including its network of KeyCenters, 1,900 ATMs, affiliate offices, and four telebanking centers (800-KEY2YOU) that provide financial products and services 24 hours a day, every day of the year. KeyCorp’s Web site can be found at [http://www.keybank.com.][1]

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

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NDC Acquires Two Business’

National Data Corporation (NYSE: NDC) (NDC) announced today the signing of definitive agreements to acquire two related health care database information management businesses. Under the first agreement, NDC agreed to acquire Source Informatics Inc. (Source), a privately held company. The second provides for the acquisition of the Over- The-Counter (OTC) Physician Survey business unit of Pharmaceutical Marketing Services Inc. (PMSI) as well as PMSI’s interest in a joint venture it formed with Source in the United States. In addition, NDC will provide certain license rights to PMSI, which is acquiring Source Europe.

NDC will issue 1,555,556 shares of its common stock and $31.75 million in cash to acquire Source. PMSI will receive 1,059,829 shares of NDC stock and $6.5 million in cash in exchange for the OTC business and joint venture. The acquisitions will be accounted for as purchase transactions.

The two businesses are expected to contribute in the range of $80 million in revenues to the NDC health care line of business. The acquired businesses will be based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Source is a major provider of information services to the pharmaceutical and other segments of the health care industry in the United States. These information services are based on the company’s extensive data collection, database management and analytical modeling capability. They produce a wide range of physician prescribing, pharmacy dispensing and drug usage information. These services are currently being used by pharmaceutical manufacturers, biotechnology companies, distributors and major pharmacy retail chains.

“This acquisition is a direct extension of our health care information strategy,” said Robert A. Yellowlees, chairman and CEO of NDC, and head of the company’s health care line of business. “It is the next phase of our plan to expand our database and other information service offerings. It leverages our unique network data access and information delivery capability to a growing range of health care industry participants. From the desktops of providers…to the information needs of managed care organizations and payers…to distributors and manufacturers, no one in the health care network information services industry provides the breadth and reach of National Data.

“At the same time, this combination will expand the range of real-time services that Source can offer its customers. It also provides increased critical mass and access to financial resources needed to accelerate growth of its existing business.

“We have worked closely with Source for a number of years and are impressed with the management team. This transaction will permit improved strategy, planning and program level integration between NDC’s expanding health care presence and Source’s proven health care data management services.”

Source, with headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz., will operate as part of NDC’s health care line of business. It will provide the nucleus for NDC’s new database management information service offerings. Robert R. Brown, currently president of Source, will serve as president of the business unit, reporting to Yellowlees.

“The agreement will benefit our mutual customers, employees, shareholders and business partners,” said Brown. “Source employees will become key members of the NDC team to deliver new and expanded services to our health care customers.”

The transactions are each dependent on the other closing, and are subject to customary closing conditions, including approval of the shareholders of Source and PMSI as well as expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Anti-Trust Improvements Act.

The acquisition agreements provide that the NDC shares to be issued may be subject to adjustment based on the average trading price of a share of NDC common stock prior to closing in the event such price is less than $37.25 or greater than $50.50 per share.

National Data Corporation is a leading provider of value-added information services and systems for the health care and payment systems markets.

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BASE Manager Launched

Integrated Research Pty Ltd (IR) today announced release of the BASE Manager product, as part of their business alliance with Applied Communications, Inc. (ACI), subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc.

BASE Manager is the latest member of IR’s PROGNOSIS family of systems management products. BASE Manager collects performance and status information which is used to monitor ACI BASE24 applications in online or historical mode, generate automatic alerts to potential danger situations, provide rapid problem determination and resolution, and to analyze trends for performance improvement and long term capacity planning.

ACI BASE24 electronic payment applications are among the most successful in the world. Operating on computers from Tandem Computers Incorporated (Nasdaq:TDM), the fault-tolerant capabilities of BASE24 offer 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week reliability, a requisite in today’s demanding banking environment.

“BASE Manager represents another landmark for Integrated Research,” said Steve Killelea, CEO and president of IR. “Our business growth has been founded on quality products and strategic partnerships and collaboration with a company like ACI is another example of our standing as a producer of leading edge software for Tandem and Windows NT platforms.”

“With BASE Manager, our customers will be able to optimize management of their BASE24 systems,” said Doug Grote, ACI Sr. Product Manager. “BASE Manager can help to identify potential system issues before they develop to enhance system uptime and ultimately, services and capabilities.”

Integrated Research [(http://www.ir.com.au)][1] is a global software development company based in Sydney, Australia, with offices in Denver, Colorado, and London, UK, and with distributors around the world. IR has many years of significant experience in developing systems management software. It has the highly regarded PROGNOSIS suite of 14 integrated products which provide leading edge systems management on Tandem systems. There are now over 4000 PROGNOSIS licences installed in 30 countries around the world.

Applied Communications, Inc. is a subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. (Nasdaq:TSAI) [(http://www.tsainc.com).][2] Transaction Systems’ software facilitates electronic payments 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 2,500 product systems in 68 countries on six continents.

[1]: http://www.ir.com.au
[2]: http://www.isainc.com

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Hall of Fame Upgrades Terminals

For one weekend each summer, the baseball world focuses on this tiny hamlet in central New York State where America’s national pastime was invented in the 19th century. Induction Weekend is highlighted by the induction of the newest members who have been elected or named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum.

While Induction Weekend is a joyous time for the new entrants as well as their families and friends, it is a busy time for those working in the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum due to the sheer volume of people who visit.

Heading into Induction Weekend 1997, which took place on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday August 2-4, Ken Meifert, Manager of Retail Accounting, was hoping that the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum’s new credit card authorization system would stand up to the acid test. The good news is the system, which primarily serves the admission gates and the gift shop, performed flawlessly.

The system is based on the Stack M multi-lane transaction processing solution and T7E point-of-sale terminals from Hypercom Corp., the world’s largest independent supplier of point-of-sale software, hardware and networking automation products. The terminals are running software developed by merchant processor Vital Processing Services, Tempe, AZ.

The system was installed by KeyBank and Hypercom this past May. KeyBank provided the Hypercom Stack M solution to the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum because it effectively met the museum’s needs for fast, low-cost credit card processing.

“The system has only been up and running for a short time. But based on how it worked during Induction Weekend, which is our busiest weekend of the year, we know we made an excellent decision,” said Meifert.

During Induction Weekend 1997, 11,788 people, or an average of 3,929 a day, visited the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum. According to Meifert, the Hypercom system processed authorizations for more than 3,000 credit card purchases over the three days.

He added, “With so much to see and hear at the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, every second is precious for fans who have made a pilgrimage to what they view as baseball’s Mecca. The last thing they want to do is wait in a line. The system kept things moving at the entrances and in the museum shop by delivering credit card authorizations in 5-6 seconds during peak times.”

The Hall of Fame’s credit card authorization system includes 12 Hypercom T7E terminals, with three at admission gates and eight in the museum shop, which carries everything from souvenir pen and pencil sets costing a few dollars to high-end collectibles, such as a set of bats commemorating each year Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, priced at $2,200. The other terminal is used for mail order sales. A Stack M unit located in the museum shop controls the LAN network.

Hypercom’s Stack M is a hardware platform that consolidates credit card authorization requests from up to 16 Hypercom T7E or T7P terminals onto a single telephone line, thus reducing telecommunications costs. In the case of the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, the number of phone lines needed for point-of-sale transactions has been reduced by 11. And due to its unique interleaving process, Stack M does not have to wait for a response from the host before transmitting another authorization request.

“The Hypercom system makes just one call to the authorizing agent and feeds simultaneous and consecutive transactions from all 12 terminals, keeping the line open until 30 seconds pass without a credit transaction,” Meifert said. During Induction Week, the 30-second lags without a transaction were few and far between.

Prior to the Hypercom system, the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum had 12 point-of-sale terminals from a competing manufacturer, with a separate phone line serving each terminal. While the Hypercom system thrived this year, the old system could not keep pace with the volume of credit card transactions during Induction Weekend 1995.

At the admission gates and in the gift shop, the average response time was 15-18 seconds prior to the Hypercom installation. The fact that it was necessary with the old system to dial up the host prior to each credit card transaction was a contributing factor to the wait. It must be noted that during Induction Weekend 1995, the number of visitors to the Hall of Fame & Museum was 22,901.

After training, retail staffers at the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum were especially excited about the ability to carry out a number of tasks, including reporting and voiding a transaction, by pushing just a single button on the Hypercom terminal.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of baseball and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime.

KeyBank

KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY), headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is one of the largest bank-based financial services company in the nation with assets of approximately $70 billion at June 30, 1997. Through three principal lines of business – corporate banking, consumer finance, and community banking – the Cleveland-based company provides retail and wholesale banking, investment, financing, and money management services across the U.S.

Hypercom Inc.

Hypercom Inc. is a leading supplier of point-of-sale (POS) hardware, software and network payment automation products. For more than a decade, Hypercom has been providing solutions for delivering and processing financial transactions which enable end users to easily add evolving payment applications and expand their POS networks. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, Hypercom markets its products in more than 50 countries via 65 global distributors. John Marshall is Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing for Hypercom.

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Bally MC Activated

Metris Companies and its banking subsidiary Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank began processing pre-approved applications yesterday for its new ‘Bally Rewards MasterCard’ and ‘Bally Rewards Gold MasterCard’. The companies just completed a one million piece mail drop to Bally members.. Bally Rewards MasterCard cardholders will earn points that can be redeemed for rewards such as free round-trip airline tickets on any airline with no blackout dates. 25,000 points can be redeemed for a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the continental United States, 40,000 points for Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and 60,000 points to Europe. For 3,000 points, cardholders can earn a three-month Bally Total Fitness membership renewal. Metris will use individualized risk-based pricing for the program.

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VirtualTAG Hits Madison Ave

First Virtual Holdings reached an agreement with Darwin Digital, Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising’s new stand-alone digital marketing company. The deal involves First Virtual’s unique VirtualTAG interactive, animated advertising banner. The VirtualTAG enables advertisers to promote a product, provide more information and accept orders using the First Virtual VirtualPIN. The VirtualPIN ties into the First Virtual Internet Payment System. [To see a demo of a VirtualTag ad click here.][1]

[1]: http://www.vtag.com/home.html

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NPC Buys ISO

National Processing announced Tuesday, it has reached a definitive agreement to purchase FA Holdings. FA Holdings is the sole owner of Financial Alliance Processing Services. Financial Alliance has annual net revenues of approximately $50 million and is averaging in excess of 1,400 new card processing customers each month. NPC will purchase approximately an 80% interest in FA Holdings in late 1997 and then, purchase the remaining ownership of the company in early 1998.

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