MSN MoneyCentral Expands

Microsoft Corp. announced Wednesday agreements with four of the nation’s leading financial institutions — American Express Co., Bank of America, Charles Schwab & Company Inc. and Citigroup Inc. — to provide customized financial content on the leading personal finance Web site, MSN MoneyCentral ( ). Consumers will have the ability to personalize the front pages of MSN MoneyCentral and MSN.COM with content tailored to their individual financial interests from these five Premier Financial Providers.

Last fall, Merrill Lynch, the largest full-service brokerage firm in the United States, became the first Premier Financial Provider to announce an alliance with MSN MoneyCentral. With the addition of these new agreements, MSN MoneyCentral provides consumers with extensive choice in the type and source of financial information they receive.

“Merrill Lynch has delivered a vast array of world-class financial advice, guidance and knowledge to a broad audience on the Internet, and we are pleased to extend even more choices for financial information with Microsoft,” said Randal Langdon, first vice president and senior director of the Digital Business Development and New Media group at Merrill Lynch. “This important alliance supports Merrill Lynch’s strategy of creating a premier online offering and building interactive Web communities.”

New Premier Financial Providers on MoneyCentral

The Premier Financial Provider program makes MoneyCentral one of the most customizable personal finance portal sites, combining innovative services from leading financial institutions with the award-winning tools and content of MoneyCentral to help consumers make smart, informed decisions about their financial futures.

“This is another step for American Express Financial Advisors in bringing our financial planning expertise to the ‘’ world through a leading personal finance Web site on MSN,” said Nancy Jones, vice president, Business Development, AEFA. “We’ll pair our high-quality advice with MSN technology to help consumers who want independence, but still need guidance when it comes to complicated financial issues.”

“Schwab is pleased to bring MoneyCentral customers access to Schwab’s library of essential resources so that they are better educated and more equipped to make intelligent investment decisions,” said Gideon Sasson, president of Schwab’s Electronic Brokerage enterprise. “This alliance gives Schwab a unique opportunity to showcase and distribute its full array of services to both customers and noncustomers, complementing its multichannel offering, both online and offline.”

“The broad distribution of MSN in the United States and worldwide will extend Citigroup’s reach online and help us acquire new customers across the spectrum of consumer financial services,” said Josh Grotstein, division executive of Internet Programs and e-commerce at e-Citi. “This is an important new online growth channel for Citigroup worldwide.”

Consumers can elect to receive content from any one or all five financial institutions, depending on their interests. New Premier Financial Providers will offer the following:

American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA)

Through its content clip on MoneyCentral, American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA), the nation’s premier financial planning company, provides advice on various subjects including retirement, saving for education, taxes, small-business ownership and year 2000 issues. In addition, commentary from AEFA’s chief economist, Dan Laufenberg, as well as other AEFA financial experts, appears on a broad range of economic topics. AEFA also offers access to its suite of interactive planning tools that help consumers create their own financial profile. In addition, AEFA will provide advertising and links to its home page and online brokerage site.

Bank of America

Bank of America’s content module on MSN MoneyCentral will provide consumers nationwide with direct and easy access to interactive decision-making tools and a wide variety of innovative financial products and services. Consumers who select Bank of America’s module when personalizing MoneyCentral will find that they are only one click away from the nation’s largest online banking provider, with more than 1.4 million online customers. In addition, Bank of America content module headlines will allow the bank’s more than 30 million customers and others to be among the first informed about and linked to new financial and e-commerce services.

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., the nation’s largest online brokerage firm and one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the world ( ), introduces a new site accessible only from MSN that offers timely, relevant and objective investment information designed specifically for the MSN MoneyCentral user. From this new Schwab On Investing site, users can participate in live, interactive discussions with renowned investment professionals during Schwab’s online investment forums; request an analysis on any of more than 9,000 publicly traded companies; and access timely market news. And with a breadth of articles from the Schwab Center for Investment Research, users can gain insights on topics ranging from trading strategies and industry trends to goal planning and mutual fund selection.


As a leading global financial services provider, Citigroup will provide content that will give MSN MoneyCentral users access to a broad range of innovative products and services spanning banking, brokerage and insurance. For consumers visiting MSN MoneyCentral, the online portfolio will include secure Internet banking with online bill payment, credit cards, online brokerage, automobile and home insurance, mortgages and more.

Citigroup also will provide consumers with timely research reports on subjects such as companies and stocks, together with useful information and advice on topics ranging from foreign exchange to college loans on MSN MoneyCentral. Citigroup’s services feature some of the world’s best financial brands: Citibank, Travelers, Salomon Smith Barney, Primerica, Commercial Credit and Diners Club.

Merrill Lynch, the First Premier Financial Provider at MSN MoneyCentral Today, Merrill Lynch debuts the first of many expanded services for users of MSN MoneyCentral that will enable them to better customize their access to Merrill Lynch in their local markets. Now, in addition to one-click access to the firm’s award-winning equity research, market commentary and analysis, and timely financial management tips for individuals and business owners, users of MSN MoneyCentral can enter their ZIP codes to receive relevant local branch information and notification of events and seminars. Once the Merrill Lynch content clip is customized, headlines featuring local information will appear each time the clip is loaded.

Merrill Lynch’s Web offerings currently include, which showcases the firm’s global research capabilities, a financial resource site for clients and the investing public at , and the Merrill Lynch home page at .

The Premier Financial Provider Program

Announced in November 1998, the Premier Financial Provider program offers financial institutions a forum for delivering relevant, targeted personal finance information directly to consumers via the MoneyCentral and MSN.COM Web sites.

All Premier Financial Providers have complete control over the information they provide through integrated content clips, enabling them to reach financially minded consumers with specific information, special offers, services and promotions. In addition, the Premier Financial Providers complement award-winning MSN MoneyCentral tools and resources to help consumers manage frequent financial tasks online — such as tracking portfolios, finding new investment ideas, banking online and planning retirement — all in one place.

“The Premier Financial Provider program is unlike any distribution opportunity on the Web today. MSN MoneyCentral empowers customers to access and personalize the highest-quality financial information from leading institutions, all in one place, said Rich Bray, general manager of the Financial Products Division at Microsoft. “By offering consumers a choice in how, when and where they obtain financial know-how, we’re also opening up tremendous marketing opportunities for our participating financial institutions. MSN gives these institutions an extended ability to reach the right customers at the right time — while they are thinking about their finances.”

About MSN MoneyCentral

MSN MoneyCentral is a complete personal finance resource that delivers easy-to-use tools, advice from dedicated financial professionals, financial data from leading content providers and seamless integration with the award- winning network of MSN services to help consumers make smarter financial decisions. The online companion to Microsoft(R) Money 99 Financial Suite, MSN MoneyCentral is also integrated into the MSN network of Internet services, making it easier for consumers to keep in touch, stay informed and get more done online.

MSN MoneyCentral is consistently recognized as the premier personal finance Web service by industry leaders, recently earning the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Award for Stock Screening and Portfolio Management. MoneyCentral has earned the Best Investment Web site award from Barron’s for two consecutive years, received Best of the Web 1999 distinction from Brill’s Content, and was named a 1999 Best Investment Tool by Macworld. In addition, consumers spend an average of 40 minutes each month managing their finances at MoneyCentral, demonstrating the value of the site’s resources.

About MSN and Microsoft

MSN is the network of Internet services from Microsoft that helps people better organize the Web around what’s important to them. The network of MSN services, located on the Web at MSN.COM ( ), helps people easily stay in touch with friends and colleagues, make smart and secure purchasing decisions, and get more done. MSN offers award-winning e-mail functionality; personal communications services; customizable access to news; popular sites for travel, investing, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

* The editorial goal of MoneyCentral is to provide a forum for investment ideas. Investor’s articles and columns of MSN MoneyCentral should not be construed as investment advice, nor does their appearance imply an endorsement by Microsoft Corp. of any specific security or trading strategy. An investor’s best course of action must be based on individual circumstances.

Ticket ATMs

Yesterday Wells Fargo began offering discounted entertainment park and aquarium vouchers at more than 500 Northern California ATMs. The new ticket program will run until Oct. 22. Consumers can purchase discounted admission vouchers to Six Flags Marine World, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Monterey Bay Aquarium at participating Wells Fargo ATMs through the Wells Fargo ‘Ticket Express’ program. Wells said it will not charge a fee, regardless of where the consumer banks, for purchasing vouchers from a Wells Fargo ‘Ticket Express’ ATM.

Cross Border Affinity

Royal Bank of Canada unveiled a new affinity program yesterday that will be available to residents in both the U.S. and Canada. This is the first time a Canadian bank has structured a cross-border affinity credit card. The new program involves an affinity VISA card for more than 100,000 McGill University alumni, including 12,000 who reside in the U.S.. The ‘McGill VISA’ will be available to Canadians through Royal Bank, while the U.S. version will be issued through Security First Network Bank. Atlanta-based Security First National Bank is a member of the Royal Bank Financial Group. The card will be available in both ‘Classic” and ‘Gold’. Royal typically charges a 17.5% APR for its cards while SFNB offers a 12.9% standard rate and a 9.9% gold rate.

BITS Lab to Open

1999BITS, the technology group for The Financial Services Roundtable, announced today the establishment of the BITS Financial Services Security Laboratory located in Reston, VA. The new facility will open on July 28th and will enable financial services companies and technology vendors to work cooperatively to further strengthen the security of electronic banking systems and related technologies.

Global Integrity Corporation, a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) will operate the BITS Laboratory, with funding from participating vendors. The major objectives of the facility are early product influence, risk reduction, cost reduction, and security functionality.

The Security Lab ultimately will rest security features and capabilities of products in both stand alone and distributed environments for select PC operating systems, browsers, servers, and applications software used for PC banking; anti-virus software firewalls; and end-to-end security systems. Products will be tested for their ability to meet specific criteria pertaining to security attributes such as authentication, integrity, confidentiality, privacy, auditability and authorization.

‘The BITS Security Lab will help to sustain public confidence in the financial services industry’s ability to prevent and respond to security-related incidents in electronic banking,’ said Edward E. Crutchfield, Chairman and CEO of First Union Corporation and Chairman of the BITS Board of Directors. ‘The capabilities provided by the new facility will save time and money in the process of evaluating the safety and validity of financial products and will allow us to better serve the customer,’ stated Crutchfield.

A BITS-Tested Process, including a BITS-Tested Mark, will be implemented to certify testing of security-related technology against established criteria. For banks and vendors alike, the BITS-Tested Process and the Laboratory will provide and unbiased third-party evaluation, with product testing on meet common criteria. The BITS-Tested Mark will be given upon successful completion of the testing cycle, indicating the overall security level for the product. Mark issuance will be posted on the BITS Web site.

‘The financial services industry takes security issues very seriously,’ said Robert W. Gillespie, Chairman and CEO, KeyCorp, and Chairman of The Financial Services Roundtable Board. ‘Traditionally, security is the key to consumer confidence,’ he continued, adding, ‘The new BITS Financial Services Security Lab is a bold and important step to ensure comprehensive security in banking systems.’

‘Sun strongly supports testing against open standards,’ said Scott McNealy, Chairman and CEO, Sun Microsystems, Inc. ‘The BITS Lab process will provide for cooperation among vendors and banks while protecting what each considers to be the proprietary aspects of their technology.’

‘Microsoft supports the BITS Security Lab because we are committed to developing, testing and applying technology that further straightens the safety and security of the electronic banking experience for consumers,’ said Mike Dushe, Product Manager, Smart Card for Windows, Microsoft Corporations. ‘Working in concert with the financial services industry and alongside other vendors, we believe the Lab provides the kind of technical cooperation that breeds confidence while continuing the marketplace competition that delivers excellence for our customers.’

‘We are delighted with BITS’ leadership in this area,’ said Richard Kovacevich, President and CEO of Wells Fargo and Company, and Immediate Past Chairman of The Financial Services Roundtable. ‘This BITS Security Lab provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate to legislators and regulators the proactive steps the financial services industry is taking to assure security in all working components of the banking systems,’ he stated.

William M. Randle, Executive Vice President, Huntington National Bank, and Co-Chair of the BITS Security and Risk Assessment Steering Committee said, ‘The establishment of the Security Lab is one of the most specific ways to industry can move toward meeting the requirements of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Bulletin (98-38) on technology risk management in PC Banking.’ He added that, ‘this effort will promote and facilitate a more sound, secure channel for electronic commerce that will accelerate the growth and acceptance of doing business on the Internet.’

Peter Browne, Senior Vice President, First Union Corporation, and the order Co-Chair of the BITS Security and Risk Assessment Steering Committee, explained that, ‘ Creating a BITS Tested Mark of certification establishes a process providing every vendor and financial institution with a baseline for evaluating all products, both existing and planned. In addition, the process will help eliminate much of the redundancy in vendor product-testing with individual financial institutions.’

‘The BITS Laboratory initiative is good for the consumer, the banking industry and those of us who endeavor to build trust in electronic commerce applications and infrastructure,’ said Harvey L. Weiss, President and CEO of Global Integrity. ‘BITS and the banks have taken a proactive step towards raising the bar for the industry, and Global Integrity is delighted to be working with BITS in this pioneering efforts.’

Rhonda MacLean, Senior Vice President, Bank of America noted, ‘The BITS Financial Services Security Lab initiative offers information technology professionals within the financial services sector and the vendor community an outstanding opportunity to collaborate. This will support a secure emerging online electronic commerce environment and promote security and privacy initiatives to meet the needs of our customers.’

BITS CEO Catherine A. Allen said that various steps are in place to allow the security facility to begin accepting product test applications in July 1999. A Working Group has been formed, chaired by Dan Nealis, Senior Vice President, Chase Manhattan Bank, to meet these objectives. ‘We are currently defining product prioritization and testing criteria. Our goal is to provide financial institutions and product vendors with a consistent and meaningful set of security tests. We will be asking for input from the vendor community, and ultimately from the brokerage and insurance industries, to help in this process,’ said Nealis. ‘Software companies are eager to have their products tested,’ he noted, adding that, ‘We plan to start with commercially available products and will move into earlier stages of product development as we gain experience and increase capacity.’

The BITS Security and Risk Assessment Steering Committee has responsibility for setting policy and directing the new technology facility, with the day-to-day management of the facility to be conducted by Global Integrity.

About BITS

BITS, the technology group for The Financial Services Roundtable, was created in 1996 to foster the growth and development of electronic banking and e-commerce in an open environment that will encourage greater choice and efficiency in financial software, access devices, networks and processing capabilities for the benefit of financial institutions and their customers. BITS promotes safety and soundness in payment systems and in electronic banking products. BITS is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of the Chairman and CEOs of the 14 largest U.S. Bank holding companies as well as representatives of the American Banker Association (ABA) and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). For more information, visit the BITS Web site at [][1].

About Global Integrity

Global Integrity is a wholly owned subsidiary of Science Application International Corporation (SAIC). It focuses on the rapidly growing worldwide business of enabling e-commerce through the information protection market. Headquarters in Reston, VA., Global Integrity provides a full complement of information protection, electronic commerce security, consulting and engineering services to global financial institutions and major corporations with electronic operation worldwide. More information can be found at Global’s Web site at [][2]


IRS Amendment

The Internal Revenue Service corrected its temporary regulations for the payment of taxes by credit and debit card. The IRS yesterday corrected Par.2 in Section 301.6311-2T to read: “(2) Liability of financial institutions. If a taxpayer has tendered a payment of internal revenue taxes by credit card or debit card, and the credit card or debit card transaction has been guaranteed expressly by a financial institution, and the United States is not duly paid, the United States shall have a lien for the guaranteed amount of the transaction upon all the assets of the institution making such guarantee.” The amendment is retroactive to Jan.1, 1999.

TransXpress Released

Transaction Network Services, Inc. the leading provider of fast, reliable data communications services for transaction-oriented applications, and PaylinX Corporation, the leader in Enterprise Payment Solutions, Wednesday announced the release of the TransXpress. Net Gateway transport solution.

The integration of both companies core technologies has created an innovative Internet payment gateway enabling processors to gain higher transaction volumes from Web-centric merchants and save processors the cost of developing and integrating interfaces with a seemingly endless variety of payment engines.

“The open architecture of TransXpress.Net Gateway is a first for the industry and will serve as a great catalyst for e-commerce payments over the Internet. Processors no longer need to devote any IT resources toward modifying their existing host applications or reconciling interface issues as new and more complex e-commerce software applications are brought to market,” said Brian Bates, senior vice president and general manager of TNS’ POS division.

The TransXpress.Net Gateway, residing on the TNS private network, which is linked to virtually all U.S. payment processors, provides message reformatting, protocol conversion, and data transport. The design enables merchants to leverage Internet connectivity for secure, scalable, and rapid payment processing and settlement, without requiring an understanding of disparate payment message formats used by processors and banks. The TransXpress.Net Gateway allows processors and banks to receive transactions from virtually all electronic commerce vendors without individually certifying and testing each merchant’s payment module.

“Most of today’s Internet payment gateways require a proprietary merchant payment interface. The PaylinX engine will provide processors an off-the-shelf solution for accommodating payment from a wide variety of e-commerce software application vendors. To begin transport via the Gateway, vendors need only acquire certification through TNS. We currently have commitments from GO Software, Inc. and the ICVERIFY unit of CyberCash, and we are working with Trintech and VeriFone to certify their virtual payment products on our new Gateway. Combine that caliber of e-commerce expertise with TNS network functionality and it becomes clear how compelling our offering is for the payment industry,” said Jack McDonnell, president and CEO of TNS.

“We are very pleased to announce our combined offering with TNS,” said Bob Lozano, President and CEO of PaylinX. “Continuing with our merchant-centric legacy, the TransXpress.Net Gateway empowers Internet merchants to do business with the processor of their choice regardless of their e-commerce software. The Gateway also opens new markets to processors by enabling an easy-to-install, scalable and high speed Internet payment solution.”

Ronald R. Nation, president of First Tennessee Merchant Services, Inc., a TNS customer said, “We are pleased to add TNS to our suite of Internet products. We commend TNS for their foresight in providing Internet transport of credit card transactions through the same back-end mechanism of dial transport. This provides a very efficient and cost-effective method for processing Internet transactions.”

About TNS

Transaction Network Services, Inc. (TNS), headquartered in Reston, Virginia, provides data communications and e-commerce services for transaction-oriented applications. TNS is recognized as the preferred worldwide network for the credit card processing industry and the rapidly growing dial ATM industry. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TNI.

Additional company information is available on the TNS website at .

About PaylinX

PaylinX Corporation is the leader in the Enterprise Payment Solution market and provides payment authorization, settlement and reporting across an entire enterprise. Only PaylinX provides a comprehensive payment solution that spans across an organization, from a web store-front to the point-of-sale to interactive voice response systems and call centers. PaylinX is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and can be reached at (314) 692-0929 or

The TNS statements and information contained in this news release that are not descriptions of historical fact may be deemed to be “forward looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated. These statements are based on assumptions and assessments made by TNS’ management in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors it believes to be appropriate. The risks and uncertainties to which these statements are subject include, but are not limited to, customer demand, competition, technological factors including issues involving either TNS’, PaylinX’s or their customers’ technology, the risk of slowing or reversing growth in use of e-Commerce, ability to develop e-Commerce relationships with new or existing customers and changes in government regulation. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the e-Commerce market for transaction services will continue to expand and develop, that TNS will be successful in its efforts to further penetrate this market or that the anticipated increase in transaction volumes and cost savings will be realized. See TNS’ reports filed with the SEC for additional discussion of these risks and other factors which may effect TNS’ services, operations, revenues and costs.

PaylinX(R) is a registered trademark and Enterprise Commerce, PaylinX for Site Server, Payment Pipes, Payment Router, PaylinX Internet Payment Server, PaylinX Enterprise Payment Server, Processor Cartridges, FraudSentry, the PaylinX logo and the phrase “Electronic Commerce Today” are trademarks of PaylinX Corporation in the United States and other countries. Other trademarks, service marks, and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Sub-Prime Pump

SD-based First Premier Bank continues to be the fastest growing sub-prime specialist, in terms of accounts and cards. During the second quarter, First Premier added nearly 100,000 net accounts. According to CardData’s ‘2Q/99 Portfolio Survey’ , now underway, FPB’s accountbase has grown 73% over the past year, from 337,000 accounts for 2Q/98 to nearly 584,000 accounts for 2Q/99. The driving factor for First Premier’s portfolio has been its high fee/low credit limit, unsecured VISA and MasterCards. For example FPB offers a VISA card through FL-based Future Card, Inc. The card, widely marketed on the Internet, offers a minimum $250 credit limit in exchange for first year fees of $228. The first year fees include a $5 monthly fee, $98 processing fee and a $70 set-up fee. First Premier also markets sub-prime cards under the Centennial name which carry first year fees of $276 ($119 acceptance fee; $35 processing fee; $50 annual fee; and a $6 monthly fee). FPB derives little interest income in comparison to fee income as balances per active account now average $262.60, according to CardData’s 2Q/99 survey. The annual volume per active account now averages $354. Over the past twelve months FPB’s card receivables have increased about 72% while quarterly volume has surged by 63%. For current and historical data on more than 300 of the nation’s top card issuers visit CardData ([][1]).


2Q/99 2Q/98
Receivables $118,579,998 $69,395,959
Q Volume $ 49,417,048 $29,710,340
Accounts 583,764 337,134
Actives 451,564 268,553
Cards 521,513 307,074

Source: CardData ( 2Q/99
Portfolio Survey


First of Omaha Enters Health-Care Proc

First of Omaha Merchant Processing announced the expansion of processing services to encompass the health-care industry and its unique needs.

Health-care industry providers will access online, real-time insurance eligibility verification services through Imperial Technology Solutions’ Receivables Payment Manager. With RPM, health-care providers will instantly verify a patient’s insurance eligibility and payment responsibilities, while collecting co-payments at the point of care with a credit, debit, or ATM card.

RPM has been proven to improve workflow associated with patient payment, collection, posting, reconciliation, billing and outstanding patient accounts receivable, while speeding income to the provider. RPM turns every point of care into a patient payment verification and collection station.

“Joining with Imperial Technology Solutions bridges the credit card processing and health-care industries,” stated Michael Phelan, senior vice president of business development, First of Omaha. “This alliance opens the doors for alternative methods of payment, thus alleviating the cumbersome billing process.”

“Currently, health-care administrators send an invoice three times before it is paid, sometimes costing more than the amount due. With RPM, First of Omaha Merchant Processing can offer a tool that has proven to help health-care providers collect more patient payments at the time of care,” said Raymond Pedden, senior vice president of ITS.

First of Omaha Merchant Processing is a premier processor in the direct marketing industry, and also processes bank card transactions for large and small retailers, restaurants, lodging merchants, petroleum marketers, associations/franchise groups and banks. Known for its superior customer service, First of Omaha specializes in providing clients the latest in card processing technologies.

Through development of a diversified product line, First of Omaha has become a leader in the merchant processing industry, assisting clients in the reduction of chargebacks and fraud. First of Omaha is a wholly owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha and is one of the few remaining in-house bank processors. First National Bank of Omaha, founded in 1863, is the 32nd oldest nationally chartered bank in existence.

First of Omaha’s Internet address is [][1].

With a team of health-care, technology and marketing specialists, ITS has developed an exclusive line of financial transaction software, the Receivables Payment Manager, that is operational today in single doctor practices to large provider organizations throughout the United States. For more information, contact Imperial Technology Solutions at 800/716-9777, or visit ITS’ World Wide Web site at [][2].

ITS is a division of Imperial Bank, one of the leading independent business banks in the West. With more than $6 billion in assets, Imperial offers a wide range of financial services tailored to corporate customers, entrepreneurs and professionals. Based in Los Angeles, Imperial Bank is the principal subsidiary of Imperial Bancorp (NYSE:IMP) and can be found on the Web at [][3].


BP Amoco Deal

Associates First Capital confirmed Tuesday afternoon it has completed its agreement to manage the combined proprietary credit card program of BP Amoco in the USA. The deal follows the merger of BP and Amoco in December of last year. The Associates has managed and issued Amoco’s co-branded credit card program since 1984 and purchased its proprietary oil card portfolio in September 1994. There are about 16,300 BP and Amoco branded retail stations in the USA and roughly 12,000 additional retail locations worldwide. According to CardData ( Associates has about $5.8 billion in bank credit card receivables and $4.5 billion in private label card receivables at the end of the first quarter 1999.

Sub-Prime Bank

MD-based Creditrust Corp. said yesterday it has decided to renew its efforts to obtain a national bank charter for Creditrust National Bank, NA, to be located in Delaware. The collection firm said due diligence in its efforts to acquire United Credit Card Bank, N.A. led Creditrust to the conclusion that this independent charter application would result in a much more timely and cost effective way to obtain a charter. Creditrust says it intends to leverage its extensive database of detailed information on its 1.7 million customers nationwide. The company intends to model and apply this information to market additional products, such as VISA and MasterCards to specifically targeted market segments.

Fee Driver

Cardholder fee income continues to outpace interest income in annual growth according to final figures compiled by CardData ( Based year-end 1998 data, cardholder fee income grew three times more than interest income last year. Over the past five years, cardholder fee income surged by nearly 160%, from $7.3 billion in 1994 to $18.9 billion in 1998. Meanwhile cardholder interest revenues grew 67% over the same period, from $34.8 billion to $58.1 billion. Late payment fees and over-limit fees have been the driving force in the increased fee income. Since 1994, late fees and over-limit fees have doubled in actual dollar averages. Late fees averaged $11.97 in the summer of 1994 and hit $24.02 this summer. Over-limit fees have grown from an average of $12.57 in June of 1994 to $23.44 for June 1999. Additionally most major issuers have reduced the late payment grace period from 14 days to 0 days. Five years ago about 70% of the industry imposed late fees and over-limit fees. Today more than 90% of the industry charges late fees and about 85% charge over-limit fees.

1998: $18.9B (+28.0%) 1998: $58.1B (+9.4%)
1997: $14.8B (+48.0%) 1997: $53.1B (+1.5%)
1996: $10.0B (+20.5%) 1996: $52.3B (+23.9%)
1995: $ 8.3B (+13.7%) 1995: $42.2B (+21.3%)
1994: $ 7.3B NA 1994: $34.8B NA

Source: CardData (