EPHONE Card Order

ePHONE Telecom, Inc., a global Internet telephony services carrier for businesses and individuals, announced that it has secured its first significant prepaid calling card order from a calling card marketing organization headquartered in North America.

The purchase order calls for the mid-May issuance of approximately 560,000 prepaid calling cards of differing denominations to be distributed among the marketing organization’s customer base, which is largely North American customers calling globally. The distribution will take place over the next quarter and is anticipated to yield revenue of approximately $2.5M to ePHONE. This order is consistent with the business priority outlined in ePHONE’s recently amended 10k and executed by ePHONE’s new President, Carmine Taglialatela, which stresses the goal of generating immediate revenue utilizing applications like prepaid calling cards.

The prepaid calling card application is a logical target given the versatility of ePHONE’s wholly owned Internet gateways which are capable of supporting multiple points of access. The prepaid calling card market is increasingly attractive, given the demographics of individual global calling communities throughout the U.S.

The ethnic market continues to be the main force behind the growth of the prepaid card industry as more ethnic communities adopt the use of prepaid cards. This has been validated by significant growth in the marketplace, as Atlantic – ACM, a global research consulting firm headquartered in Boston, has determined in a recent study.

The study found a base of 30 million cards in North American circulation in 1993, which grew to 400 million in 1998 and is expected to grow to 700 million cards in 2003. Atlantic – ACM also anticipates prepaid revenues to approach $6-7 billion by 2005.

Carmine Taglialatela, ePHONE’s President commented as follows: “We’re finding that an aggressive approach to the prepaid calling card market is well-timed in the current environment. We see this order as the first in a series of upcoming announcements over the next quarter as we continue to generate revenue and build shareholder value.”

About ePHONE Telecom

ePHONE Telecom is a global full service telecommunications provider for businesses and individuals. ePHONE enables long distance calling at local pricing via access devices that connect customers to ePHONE’s network built on its award winning Internet Protocol (IP) technology. For more information about ePHONE Telecom, please visit [www.ephonetelecom.com][1].

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

Online Promotion

VISA U.S.A. launched the “Win What You Spend x 10″ Sweepstakes” yesterday. The sweepstakes has been designed to drive traffic to merchant Web sites and increase online payment card usage. Over 20 leading online retailers and over 60 VISA member banks are participating in the promotion. Each time cardholders use their VISA card to make an online purchase at participating merchants between May 1 and May 31, they will be automatically entered to win ten times the amount of their purchase, with the opportunity to win up to $10,000. During the promotional period, a total of 31 lucky winners will be selected. The sweepstakes will be supported through a comprehensive marketing program, including online advertising on popular shopping-related sites, email and viral marketing campaigns, and online merchant point-of-sale signage.

Gemplus 1Q/01

Gemplus International said yesterday it is making changes to become more financially competitive. The smart card manufacturer reported first quarter revenue of 294 million Euros, up 27% from the same quarter a year ago and a net 1Q/01 loss of 7 million Euros. Operating loss was 2.5 million Euros, compared with an operating profit of 14 million Euros for the same quarter a year ago. The company announced plans to restructure its operations and forecasted a 35 million Euro charge in the second quarter. The restructuring includes a project to close its Seebach, Germany facility and a rebalancing of its worldwide production facilities. The company also said it would organizationally combine its Financial Services business with its E-business Security business while continuing to maintain a distinct focus on each of these important market segments. Gemplus indicated that it expects revenue for its second quarter to increase 7% from the same quarter a year ago with operating income at about the breakeven level before restructuring. For more details on Gemplus’ 1Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Cabela’s Deal

U.S. Bank Merchant Payment Services announced it has signed a multi-year payment processing agreement with Cabela’s, Inc., the World’s Foremost Outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. Based in Sidney, Neb., Cabela’s distributes its products through catalogs, the Internet and seven retail showrooms in the United States.

![][1] U.S. Bank Merchant Payment Services is one of the nation’s top 10 merchant payment processors with over $30 billion in processing volume and 90,000 merchant locations. U.S. Bank will provide Cabela’s with all merchant credit card processing services, in addition to banking services currently provided which include cash management and foreign currency services as well as inventory financing.

“Cabela’s has enjoyed a long relationship with U.S Bank. We selected U.S. Bank because of their commitment to technology and their past support of our business,” said Dave Roehr, vice president of planning and marketing for Cabela’s.

“We are excited to be working with Cabela’s and are pleased they recognize our commitment to technology through industry-leading products such as Merchant CARE, our online reporting system. We look forward to providing them with the best banking services as we build the best bank in America,” said Richard Davis, vice chairman of consumer banking and payment services at U.S. Bank.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with assets in excess of $160 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,242 banking offices and 5,208 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of Firstar Banks and U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at [http://www.usbank.com][2] and Firstar Bank at [http://www.firstar.com][3].

Cabela’s, founded in 1961 is the World’s Foremost Outfitter(R) of hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear. Today, Cabela’s produces over 75 million catalogs each year offering reasonable prices and high quality gear to outdoor enthusiasts in all 50 United States as well as 120 countries around the world. Currently, Cabela’s operates retail showrooms in Sidney and Kearney, Neb.; Owatonna and East Grand Forks, Minn.; Prairie du Chien, Wis.; Mitchell, S.D.; and Dundee, Mich. The Company, which is headquartered in Sidney, Neb., has approximately 6,000 employees. Visit Cabela’s on the web at [http://www.cabelas.com][4].

[1]: /graphic/cabelas.gif
[2]: http://www.usbank.com/
[3]: http://www.firstar.com/
[4]: http://www.cabelas.com/

Secured Biz Card

Wells Fargo announced a new business credit card that gives entrepreneurs and small business owners with scant credit histories a way to build business credit. The new ‘Wells Fargo Business Secured MasterCard’ offers a credit limit up to $100,000 per company. The card is designed to help entrepreneurs and new business owners establish or repair credit by giving them access to a credit card account separate from their personal credit card. Business owners approved for the program secure the card by making a deposit to an FDIC-insured business savings account, which yields a four percent return for the first year. After the first year, the interest rate converts to the current market rate. The new card has an APR of prime plus 5.9% and an annual fee of $25. The program is available through Wells Fargo banking locations in 23 states, via telephone and the Internet.

TSA 1Q/01

Transaction Systems Architects reported revenue for the quarter ending Mar 31 of $76.5 million and operating cash flow of $8 million. The company announced that William Fisher, Chairman and CEO, will step down from both of his current positions. Larry Fendley, a current board member, will assume the role of interim CEO during an executive search period. Revenue for its Consumer e-Payments business was up 6% over the prior year and new orders in that unit were up substantially from the year ago period. The Company completed the second quarter of fiscal 2001 with $187 million in backlog, consisting of $55 million in non-recurring backlog and $132 million in recurring backlog. This compares to the backlog of $184 million at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2001. For more details on TSA’s 1Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

Puck IDine

Transmedia Network Inc., the leading provider of transaction-based dining rewards programs, announced the addition of 19 Wolfgang Puck casual dining locations throughout the United States to its restaurant portfolio. Starting this month, members of Transmedia’s iDine dining rewards programs will have the ability to earn dining benefits at four Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafes, thirteen Wolfgang Puck Cafes and two Wolfgang Puck Express restaurants nationwide.

“Wolfgang Puck’s casual restaurants and the fusion cuisine that he has popularized provide an excellent dining selection for our member base of more than five million dining enthusiasts,” said Gene Henderson, President and CEO of Transmedia. “Our partnership with Wolfgang Puck Casual Dining represents an incremental income generating opportunity for their restaurants along with exposure to a very attractive customer base. In return, our members receive excellent reward opportunities coupled with a very desirable dining experience.”

iDine dining rewards programs are easy to use. Members simply register up to three major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover) with iDine (www.idine.com or 1.877.491.DINE), then use that registered credit card to settle the bill at participating restaurants. The members will automatically receive their dining benefits in a very discrete manner as a credit on their credit card statement or as miles awarded to their frequent flier account. There is no need to use coupons, discount cards or the like.

“The partnership with iDine provides us with access to a large, desirable group of regular restaurant patrons who we believe will want to make our restaurants a regular eating place,” said Rob Kautz, President & CEO of Wolfgang Puck Casual Dining. “Our nationwide locations and iDine’s geographically dispersed member base, particularly its airline dining rewards members, represent an excellent combination for driving incremental dining revenue.”

About Transmedia Network Inc.

Transmedia Network Inc. (AMEX: TMN) presently offers its 5.6 million members a variety of dining savings and rewards programs at more than 7,500 restaurants throughout the United States via means of a registered credit card. The dining savings are offered through the Company’s programs, either branded under the name iDine or provided through private label partnerships, such as airline frequent flyer programs, club memberships, or other affinity organizations. iDine members can access personalized, real-time restaurant listings, special dining incentives and more via their newly re-launched web site, [www.idine.com][1].

About Wolfgang Puck Casual Dining

Wolfgang Puck Casual Dining(TM) is the successor name for Wolfgang Puck Food Company, Inc. Company operations comprise 34 Wolfgang Puck(TM) branded restaurant locations including five Grand Cafes, twelve Cafes, and fifteen quick service Express units including one at a university, five at airports and six in supermarkets. Avalon Cove, a new seafood concept, opened inside Disney’s new California Adventure theme park on February 8, 2001, a Cafe opened in April in Osaka, Japan, and Canada is under development with a Canadian operating partner. The Company is presently signing area development partners for the Wolfgang Puck Express(TM) to develop regions of the U.S.

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

AuctionWatch c2it

AuctionWatch, a leading provider of software solutions that enable businesses of all sizes to efficiently sell merchandise online through dynamic and fixed price marketplaces, announced a strategic and exclusive alliance with c2it by Citibank, Citigroup’s online person-to-person payment service. This strategic alliance makes Citibank’s c2it service the preferred payment provider for AuctionWatch’s suite of auction services and storefront commerce. In addition, it is first time an online P2P payment service supported 100 percent by a financial institution has entered and forged an alliance with an online auction management company to offer services to the auction community.

The joint service, which will embed c2it’s payment service within AuctionWatch’s e-commerce solution, will provide sellers and buyers the ability to exchange funds rapidly within a secure environment. For sellers, the automated solution reduces the amount of work required to sell an item. After an item is sold at auction, an invoice is automatically sent to the buyer on behalf of the merchant with transaction details to close the sale. For buyers, the process is simple — they can conveniently pay for auction merchandise by following a link from merchants’ invoices to c2it’s payment solution, which will be seamlessly integrated into AuctionWatch’s site. When the buyer pays for the item using c2it, the seller then receives notification in their AuctionWatch account and prints an automatically formatted packing slip for shipment. c2it functionality on AuctionWatch’s site will begin in June with full integration completed by Fall 2001.

In addition to offering payment solutions for online auctions, c2it will also be the featured payment provider within AuctionWatch’s merchant storefronts, a place where sellers offer merchandise to buyers at a fixed price, offering both parties the same efficiencies and safety measures as purchasing items through auction.

“Teaming up with a leading online auction services company was a natural choice for us,” said Antony Jenkins, COO of c2it. “We are dedicated and committed to building a leading stake in the person-to-person payment space, and this alliance is another step in that direction. AuctionWatch is a company with extensive experience and understanding of the online auction community. Bringing c2it to AuctionWatch’s customers aligns with our strategy of making c2it widely available across the Web.”

“We are very excited about our agreement and pleased to be working with one of the world’s largest financial institutions to offer our merchants top-tier payment services. c2it will be instrumental in automating sellers’ payment and fulfillment cycles by fostering faster and more efficient e-business practices for our merchants,” commented Rodrigo Sales, CEO of AuctionWatch. “We also believe buyers will find comfort and trust with our merchants, knowing they are using a well-known financial services brand like Citibank to handle their payment transactions.”

Results of a survey that c2it conducted to poll AuctionWatch’s merchants on their needs for a payment and billing solution confirm that c2it’s services provide exactly what the online auction merchant community wants. The top attributes of a payment service desired by sellers include speed of accessing money, the backing of a stable financial institution, a secure transaction environment, and around-the-clock phone customer service availability. c2it provides these services and more, including an option for handling international payments in the near future.

About AuctionWatch

With over four million unique visitors a month and hundreds of thousands of registered sellers, AuctionWatch is widely recognized as the company of choice for businesses looking to efficiently distribute merchandise online and cost-effectively acquire customers. In addition to its suite of powerful seller services, AuctionWatch offers buyers an industry-leading search capability, allowing them to conveniently locate items across numerous auction and fixed-price sites. The company also publishes daily content on the auction industry and has the most active independent message boards of its kind. Based in San Bruno, California, AuctionWatch is privately held and funded by Sequoia Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures, CMGI @Ventures, meVC Draper Fisher Jurvetson Fund I, Angel Investors LP, Bulldog Capital, Argus Capital and private investors. Visit the AuctionWatch website at [http://www.auctionwatch.com][1].

About Citigroup

Citigroup, the preeminent global financial services company, provides some 120 million consumers, corporations, governments and institutions in more than 100 countries with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities brokerage and asset management. Major brand names under Citigroup’s trademark umbrella are Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Salomon Smith Barney, and Travelers. Additional information may be found at: [http://www.citigroup.com][2].

[1]: http://www.auctionwatch.com/
[2]: http://www.citigroup.com/

Bankrate 1Q/01

FL-based Bankrate.com’s race to survivability made it through another quarter. The online personal finance information Web site reported a net loss of $625,000 for the first quarter compared to a $7.1 million net loss for 1Q/00. Bankrate says its online publishing revenue hit $3,961,000 compared to $3,014,000 in the same period in 2000. Barter expenses for the first quarter were $986,000. Bankrate says its web traffic has soared from 1.4 million unique visitors per month during 4Q/00 to 3.0 million per month for the first quarter 2001. The company has sightly more than $8 million in cash on hand but has been delisted from NASDAQ and now trades OTCBB. For more details on Bankrate’s 1Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

uBid Card

Household International, Inc., through its private label credit card unit, has signed an agreement to manage a new private label credit card program for uBid, a majority-owned operating company of CMGI and leading retail auction and e-commerce site. Through the agreement, uBid customers will be able to apply for instant credit with no annual fee using the uBid card, managed by Household.

“We are pleased to align with uBid, another great Chicagoland company, to bring valuable customized financing solutions to customers,” said Sandy Derickson, managing director and CEO, Household Retail Services. “With the uBid agreement, Household truly is positioned as the premier private label credit card provider to the best retail e-commerce companies.”

Customers who use the uBid card will receive added benefits, such as lower shipping costs and special financing offers. For example, from time to time, uBid cardholders can take advantage of 90 days “same as cash” financing, which means they pay no interest for three months after a purchase. Household will manage the financing of these offers.

“We believe this strategic relationship with Household will help us achieve our mission of consistently delivering exceptional value and service to our customers,” said Greg Jones, president and CEO, uBid. “Lower shipping costs, smart financing arrangements and other special offers will mean better values for our customers, and keep them coming back to our site.”

In addition to uBid, Household offers private label credit cards and sales finance products for several other online retailers as well as other national and regional merchants in industries such as furniture, department store, consumer electronics, specialty discount and apparel. Household also provides financing for dealers in motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercrafts and snowmobiles.

About uBid

uBid, a majority-owned operating company of CMGI, Inc., is a leading retail auction and e-commerce site, offering consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses the opportunity to purchase a wide range of brand-name merchandise, often at greatly reduced prices, through live-action bidding using sophisticated auction technology. The company’s Internet auctions feature a rotating selection of more than 12,000 products daily. uBid sells products in more than 12 different product categories, including computer equipment; consumer electronics; home and leisure; sports and recreation; jewelry and gifts; apparel; home improvement products; art; appliances; and travel and events. In addition, consumers may participate in the new uBid Auction Exchange marketplace, in which third-party vendors and consumers list their items for auction.

With more than 2 million registered users, uBid is committed to providing its customers with the highest quality auction experience on the Internet and offers supplier warranties on most consumer products. uBid also meets Better Business Bureau Online standards, which gives customers the confidence and security to bid safely online. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.ubid.com][1].

About Household

Household’s businesses are leading providers of consumer finance, credit card, auto finance and credit insurance products in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. In the United States, Household’s largest business, founded in 1878, operates under the two oldest and most widely recognized names in consumer finance- HFC and Beneficial. Household is also one of the nation’s largest issuers of private-label and general purpose credit cards, including the GM Card and the AFL-CIO’s Union Privilege card. For more information, visit the company’s web site at [http://www.household.com][2].

uBid and uBid.com are trademarks of uBid, Inc. All other products and services mentioned may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

[1]: http://www.ubid.com/
[2]: http://www.household.com/

Coinstar Hits UK

Coinstar Inc. announced plans to rollout the Coinstar service in the United Kingdom. Agreements have been reached with Asda Stores, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, and Sainsbury’s Supermarkets. Combined, Asda and Sainsbury’s operate 680 stores in the United Kingdom and have a market share of nearly 40 percent. Today’s rollout announcement was prompted by consumer demand for the Coinstar service. Coinstar installed its first machines in the United Kingdom just two years ago as part of an eight store pilot test. Strong initial customer response prompted Coinstar to install nineteen more pilot machines in 1999 and 2000.

“The United Kingdom represents a great expansion opportunity for Coinstar,” said Alex Camara, managing director of Coinstar’s United Kingdom business. “With signed contracts from two of the country’s leading retailers, we fully expect to repeat the success Coinstar has enjoyed in the United States.” “We know the United Kingdom is a very attractive market for Coinstar based on the results achieved during our two year pilot,” said Rich Stillman, chief operating officer of Coinstar. “Additionally, because much of the U.K. infrastructure is located at our Bellevue headquarters, Coinstar is able to further leverage its U.S. operation.”

About Coinstar Inc.

Coinstar Inc. (Nasdaq:CSTR) owns and operates the only nationwide network of supermarket-based machines that offer coin counting and other electronic services. Linked by a sophisticated interactive network, the company has more than 8,500 machines throughout North America as well as in the United Kingdom. Meals.com, the company’s majority-owned subsidiary, is an infrastructure provider that helps supermarket retailers and packaged goods manufacturers communicate directly to consumers through the use of online and in-store technologies.

PayMaxx Card

Internet payroll pioneer PayMaxx and BankTennessee have teamed up to introduce a ‘VISA’ debit card enabling employees to make purchases and withdraw money at ATMs and POS locations worldwide. The ‘PayMaxx PayCard’ is being targeted to employees who may not otherwise have a checking account or bank relationship. Under the program, employees receive monthly statements and have access to a toll-free customer service line and 24-hour toll-free, bilingual, instant account information line. Payroll funds are directly deposited into the VISA accounts every payday. PayMaxx says its research shows that employees in high turnover industries often find obstacles to cashing their payroll checks and managing their funds. The payroll company says it will target hospitality, manufacturing, fast food, and trucking industries for the debit card product. The card is honored by the ‘Plus’ and ‘Star’ debit systems, as well as 600,000 ATMs.