Fees Resume Climb

Average late payment fees will surge by 3% this month, the largest one month jump in the industry’s history, as more issuers raise fees above the $29 level. U.S Bank recently joined the trend in the wake of fee increases by MBNA and Discover, which go into effect today. U.S. Bank is now charging a $27 or $35 late fee, depending on the number of delinquencies occurring within twelve consecutive billing cycles. Advanta was the first card issuer to institute $35 fees for holders of its business card products. In 2000, Fleet Credit Card Services began charging a $35 late fee on all its card products including the new ‘Fusion smart VISA’. Citibank boosted late payment fees to $35 in August 2001. Discover and MBNA have instituted new late fee structures effective this month. Both issuers will now charge a $15 late fee for balances under $100; a $25 fee for balances between $100 and $1,000; and a $35 fee for past due balances above $1,000. On average, late payment fees, among issuers with portfolios over $100 million, have increased 5.5% over the past twelve months from $27.10 to $28.58, according to CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]). (CF Library 8/1/01; 8/30/01; 2/7/02; 2/11/02)

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


Target Smart 4Q/01

Target reported yesterday it signed up 1.1 million new accounts for its new ‘smart VISA’ card during the quarter ending Feb. 2nd. Since the launch of the VISA program in September 2001, Target has opened 2.5 million accounts and has racked up $1.5 billion in receivables, becoming the third largest issuer of smart credit cards in the USA. The company projects the VISA program will conservatively grow to $4.5 billion by the end of fiscal 2002, and to $6.0 billion by 2003. Target ended its fiscal year 2001 with $2.6 billion in private label (‘Guest Card’) credit card receivables and $1.5 billion in bank (‘smart VISA’) credit card receivables. During the year, total card receivables grew 41.4%, from $2.9 billion to $4.1 billion. The full-year profit contribution of the company’s credit card operations increased 11.2% to $445 million from $400 million last year, on growth in average receivables serviced of 15.8%. Target’s provision for credit losses of $261 million is about 6.4% of card loans. The company expects the growth in its VISA program to contribute up to 5 cents in earnings per share during fiscal 2002. Target said it will rely heavily on in-store promotion for its ‘smart VISA’ program this year. For complete details on Target’s 4Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


ReD Acquisition

NJ-based Retail Decisions announced this morning the acquisition of the business and assets of VA-based Paymentplus, Inc., a card-not-present processing software provider. ReD is paying total cash consideration of $2.25 million for the firm. Paymentplus had annual revenues in 2001 of $1.75 million, an operating loss of $148,000, and net assets of $282,000. Paymentplus developed the enterprise-class payment processing software, ‘LiveProcessor’, a processing engine delivering live credit card and electronic check transaction interfaces to third party transaction processors. The company has more than 80 installations of ‘LiveProcessor’ in the US and its customers complete an estimated 10 million card-not-present transactions in 23 currencies on a monthly basis. As part of the transaction, Jeff Foster, VP of Marketing and Sales, and Matt Wixson, CTO, will become employees of Retail Decisions.


LA Smart Cards

Cubic Transportation yesterday nailed an $84 million smart card contract for Los Angeles County’s Metro System. MTA ‘s Board said the move to smart cards for all public transit in LA County will take three years to complete. A temporary version of the smart card, a paper flash regional pass, Los Angeles County’s first universal fare media, will be introduced by this summer. Late last year, in an early test of UFS, Montebello Bus Lines became the first municipal bus operator in LA County to partner up with MTA by accepting MTA transit passes on all its bus lines. When UFS is fully implemented, the paper pass, like all other passes in the county, will become transparent to all customers in the form of one regional transit smart card. In January, Cubic received a $15.2 million contract from the Metropolitan Council in Minneapolis/St. Paul for a smart card-based ticketing system for light rail and bus rapid transit. Also in January, Cubic was awarded a $3.3 million contract to provide smart card-ready fare collection equipment for the Chicago Transit Authority and a $5.5 million contract to upgrade the central computing system and infrastructure for the CTA. Cubic has transit payment systems in more than 40 major markets in cities on five continents, including London, Washington, D.C., Hong Kong, Chicago, New York, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Atlanta, San Francisco, Singapore and Miami. (CF Library 1/2/02; 1/18/02; 1/25/02)



American Express has indicated more employees will return to its headquarters in the World Financial Center than earlier anticipated. Beginning in April, approximately 3,500 employees will return to lower Manhattan, about 500 more than announced earlier. AmEx was forced to leave its headquarters following the Sept. 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. During the third quarter, AmEx took a $98 million charge for losses associated with the terrorist attacks.


EFTA eCommerce Keynote

Don MacLeod, executive vice president at Wachovia Corporation, and Chuck Wade, Internet security expert, have been tapped by the Electronic Funds Transfer Association to deliver keynote addresses to the group’s Electronic Commerce Payments Council on March 14, 2002 in Charlotte, NC.

The Electronic Commerce Payments Council is a multidisciplinary working group dedicated to exploring emerging e-commerce payment models and issues. Approximately 40 organizations comprise the Council’s membership. The March 14 session is the Council’s first quarterly meeting of the year. Mr. MacLeod, also managing partner of the Wachovia Strategic Ventures Group, will speak on “Surviving the New Economy.” Wachovia Strategic Ventures ([www.firstunion.com/strategicventures][1]) has a total portfolio of greater than $150 million and makes strategic equity investments that support Wachovia Corporation’s technology initiates. Mr. MacLeod is a director of Arcot, Spectrum EBP, ProAct and TeamStaff.

An industry thought leader on authentication issues, Mr. Wade’s address is titled “Authentication Issues for Internet Payments: Whose problem are we solving?” He will examine Internet authentication in a broad context and address whether current industry efforts to fill the authentication void are meeting the real needs of consumers and retailers.

Representing one of the industry’s most talked about single sign-on authentication solutions, Ken Oestreich, senior business alliances manager at Sun Microsystems, Inc., will lead a session, “The Liberty Alliance and Network Identity.”

The Liberty Alliance, which advocates competition and consumer choice, is a multi-industry consortium organized to provide a universal, single sign-on password for consumers with decentralized authentication and open authorization. Its varied and fast growing membership includes AOL, American Express, Visa, MasterCard, United Airlines, Bank of America and GM. Michael Keresman, president and CEO at Cardinal Commerce, and Steve Ryan, vice president of corporate development at Arcot, will address the real-world issues of how industry-proposed and newly implemented authentication systems work for consumers, issuers, merchants, acquirers and infrastructure providers. Both companies are leaders in the implementation of authentication models, and their representatives will share their practical experience and outlook for the future.

Presenting an alternative Internet payment model will be Harold Williams, senior vice president of payment systems, at BB&T, who will discuss, “Project Action: Enabling ACH credits for Internet payments.” Project Action is a NACHA-sponsored program, still in the pilot phase, to develop an Internet payment product that combines financial institution authentication of consumers with guaranteed ACH credit payments. Mr. Williams serves as the Project Action’s vice-chairman.

Council participation is limited to EFTA members, but the Association welcomes industry representatives as guests at the upcoming meeting. For more information on the March 14 meeting, contact eftassoc@efta.org. eCPC Co-chairs are Steve Klebe, vice president for strategic alliances, payment and risk, at CyberSource Corporation; Don Moehrke, principal, Moehrke & Healey, LLC; Rene Pelegero, director of global operations, Amazon.com, and Paul Tomasofsky, vice president for strategic business development, NYCE Corporation.

About the Electronic Funds Transfer Association

The Electronic Funds Transfer Association is a trade organization dedicated to the advancement of electronic payment systems and commerce. Approaching a quarter-century of service, the Association represents its members on a variety of issues of interest to the electronic payments industry, including privacy, security, electronic commerce, and compliance with federal regulations. It can be reached at its web site, [www.efta.org][2].

[1]: http://www.firstunion.com/strategicventures
[2]: http://www.efta.org/


CIBC 4Q/01

CIBC said this morning it received more than 10,000 applications for its new American Express ‘entourage’ smart card in the initial weeks following the release of the card in early January. CIBC is the first bank in Canada to offer both American Express and VISA credit cards. The CIBC/AmEx card is also the country’s first nationally available smart card. CIBC is offering three AmEx card products: ‘American Express Smart Card’, ‘Platinum American Express Card’, and the ‘Business American Express Card’. The CIBC/AmEx smart card offers up to one per cent cash back with ‘entourage earnings’, no annual fee and a 19.5% annual interest rate. CIBC currently has 3.9 million VISA cardholders according to RAM Research ([www.ramresearch.com][1]). Over the past five years, American Express has formed 72 card-issuing partnerships with banks and other institutions around the world. CIBC also reported Thursday that the total number of Amicus customers grew to 1,003,000 during the quarter ending 1/31/02, an 11% increase over the 901,000 registered customers at October 31, 2001. The total number of current Amicus customers includes 856,000 in Canada and 147,000 in the USA. Amicus includes the co-branded retail electronic banking businesses, including President’s Choice Financial (Loblaw Companies Limited), Marketplace Bank (Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.) and Safeway SELECT Bank (Safeway Inc.). For complete details on CIBC’s latest quarterly earnings report visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][2]).

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


FlightFund Partners

America West Airlines announces three exciting new opportunities for FlightFund members to earn frequent flyer miles with several nationally known companies. FlightFund now has agreements with EarthLink, H&R Block and PeopleFirst.com.

“Our partnerships with these companies allow our customers to earn miles for things they normally do, like signing up for Internet access, having their taxes prepared and taking out auto loans,” said Scott Kirby, executive vice president, sales and marketing. “That’s what makes FlightFund so great — our customers get the added value of earning miles towards free award travel for all kinds of personal and business activities.”

New FlightFund partner EarthLink ( [http://www.earthlink.net][1] ) is offering customers 5,000 miles for signing up for Internet service. As one of the nation’s largest Internet service providers, EarthLink provides a full range of innovative access, hosting and e-commerce solutions to thousands of communities over a nationwide network of dial-up points of presence, as well as high-speed access and wireless technologies.

FlightFund members receive between 500 and 2,000 miles for their initial tax return preparation with H&R Block. New H&R Block clients whose tax returns are prepared at a participating regular H&R Block location will receive 1,000 miles. First-time clients whose tax returns are prepared at an H&R Block Premium office will receive 2,000 miles. First-time taxpayers choosing to prepare their tax return with H&R Block’s Online Tax Program at will receive 500 miles. America West FlightFund members can go to [http://www.hrblock.com][2] to find the nearest H&R Block location. In 2001, H&R Block served 19.2 million taxpayers — more than any other company — through its more than 10,000 offices located primarily in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Five thousand America West miles are being awarded to FlightFund members receiving a loan from PeopleFirst.com, the nation’s largest online vehicle lender. PeopleFirst, a Capital One company, provides an easy, efficient and economical loan process via the Internet, with rates that are typically one to two percent lower than national bank averages. PeopleFirst is the pioneer of the Blank Check(R), an innovative finance option which gives loan recipients a no-obligation Blank Check(R) good up to their approved amount. The Blank Check(R) can be used just like a personal check at virtually any dealership to purchase a new or used car or motorcycle. The company also provides financing for person-to-person transactions, lease buyouts and the refinancing of existing loans.

To find out more about these programs customers can go to [http://www.flightfund.com][3], the frequent flyer section of [http://www.americawest.com][4] , or contact the FlightFund Service Center at 1-800-247-5691.

FlightFund offers one of the most generous frequent flyer programs in the industry with domestic award travel beginning at 20,000 miles year-round and a 3,000-mile online bonus for each roundtrip ticket purchased at americawest.com and flown by May 31, 2002. FlightFund has more than 50 partners to help members earn miles in a variety of ways including through car rentals, hotel stays and dining at participating restaurants. Members can use their frequent flyer miles for travel to more than 300 destinations on five continents.

America West Airlines, the nation’s eighth-largest carrier, serves 88 destinations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Along with its codeshare partners, America West serves more than 170 destinations worldwide. America West ranks number one in on-time performance among all major carriers as recorded in the latest Air Travel Consumer Report published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. America West Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of America West Holdings Corporation, an aviation and travel services company with 2001 sales of $2.1 billion.

This press release, as well as releases issued in the past year by America West Holdings and its affiliates, can be accessed on the America West Internet site at [http://www.americawest.com][5].

[1]: http://www.earthlink.net/
[2]: http://www.hrblock.com/
[3]: http://www.flightfund.com/
[4]: http://www.americawest.com/
[5]: http://www.americawest.com/


Equitex & Hyperion

Equitex, Inc. announced it has signed an agreement with Atlanta-based Hyperion Partners Corp. to provide a wide range of financial and investment banking services to the Company.

Henry Fong, President of Equitex, stated, “We are extremely pleased to be working with Hyperion Partners. We evaluated a number of alternatives but selected Hyperion because of its outstanding track record in assisting rapidly growing companies. The depth of experience of their team especially impressed us. I know their knowledge and experience in assisting growing public companies will serve us well, and we look forward to working with them in our continuing efforts to maximize value for Equitex’s stockholders.”

Paul T. Mannion, President of Hyperion, stated, “Equitex has demonstrated an insight and focus on shareholder value that has gone unnoticed by the investment community. We look forward to working with Equitex’s management team in their efforts to maximize stockholder value.”

Hyperion Partners Corp. ([http://www.hyperion-partners.com][1]) is a NASD member firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. Hyperion focuses on providing funding for public and private companies, consulting and merger and acquisition advice. Hyperion has offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Miami, Florida. Contact at Hyperion Partners: Nicole Mager (305) 466-0461 or research@hyperion-partners.com.

Equitex, Inc. is a holding company operating through its wholly owned subsidiaries Nova Financial Systems and Key Financial Systems of Clearwater, Florida and Chex Services of Minnetonka, Minnesota. Nova and Key design and service credit card products for those who need to build or rebuild credit; marketed through direct mail, print media, telemarketing for financial institutions and the Internet through alliances with a number of popular Internet web sites. Chex Services provides comprehensive cash access services to casinos and other gaming facilities.

[1]: http://www.hyperion-partners.com/


Advanta’s Managers Take Stock

Advanta Corporation announced that its management team has exchanged future cash bonuses for restricted shares of the Company’s Class B Common Stock.

Pursuant to the terms of a unique compensation program which directly links individual compensation with Company stock performance, Company President Bill Rosoff will receive any targeted annual performance bonuses for 2002 through 2005 in restricted shares of Class B Common Stock. Other executive officers (within the meaning of Section 16 of the Securities and Exchange Act) were given the opportunity to exchange up to 100% of their targeted annual bonuses for performance years 2002 through 2005 for restricted Class B Common Stock. All five officers, including Chief Financial Officer Phil Browne and Advanta Small Business Services President Rosemary Cauchon, elected to exchange 100% of their targeted annual performance bonuses for Company stock.

An additional 120 members of Advanta’s management team were also given the opportunity in December 2001 to exchange target bonuses for 2002 through 2005 for restricted shares of Class B Common Stock. Ninety percent elected to exchange some portion of their future target bonuses for stock. For the four year period 2002 through 2005, the management team acquired a total of $18.9 million worth of restricted shares of the Company’s Class B Common Stock in lieu of future cash bonuses.

Under the terms of the program, the stock becomes unrestricted at the times and under the conditions the future performance-based bonuses would have been paid. “We have aligned the interests of management with the creation of shareholder value as we now focus exclusively on the small business market. Management’s elections followed our review and adjustment of compensation plans following the restructuring of the Company last year,” said President, Bill Rosoff. “Advanta’s management team has shown enormous confidence in the future performance of Advanta and its stock.”

Advanta previously announced that its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dennis Alter, has relinquished his entire salary and annual bonuses for 2002 through 2004 in exchange for options to purchase Class B shares. The options were priced at market on the dates of grant and will vest incrementally over the next three years, beginning in late February 2003.

Advanta is a highly focused financial services company which has been providing innovative financial solutions since 1951. Advanta leverages its first-class direct marketing and information based expertise to develop state-of-the-art data warehousing and statistical modeling tools that identify potential customers and new target markets. It has used these distinctive capabilities to become one of the nation’s largest issuers of MasterCard business credit cards to small businesses. Learn more about Advanta at [www.advanta.com][1].

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



Canadian Tire Financial Services’ Customer Service Contact Centre has been
awarded the Call Centre Service Quality
Excellence Award for Highest Overall Performance for 2001. This is the second
year in a row that the company has earned this distinction. Service Quality
Management Group Inc., a leading Canadian research company that
specializes in call centre benchmarking and customer satisfaction measurement,
conducted national research of 125 corporate call centers across the country.

According to Tom Gauld, president, Canadian Tire Financial Services, “We
are thrilled that, once again, our employees’ dedication to delivering the
best possible service to our customers has been nationally recognized. Our
philosophy is one of attracting and keeping ‘Customers For Life’, through
competitive products, and outstanding customer service. Our employees carry
out this vision every day, in the way that they handle customer calls and
inquiries. I am very proud of the team, here in Welland, and offer my personal
congratulations to each and every one of the employees for another world class

SQM benchmarked more than 125 Canadian companies and looked at three
different factors: customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and
operational efficiency. These factors consider not only business performance
but also success at keeping customers and employees satisfied. Canadian Tire
ranked at the top for highest overall performance, matching their finish in

Mary Turner, Vice President, Customer Service & Operations, says, “We
value and respect our Representatives and the work they do. Their consistent
ability to deliver world class customer service builds customer loyalty to
Canadian Tire.”

Canadian Tire Financial Services has been operating in Welland and
Burlington for more than thirty-five years. Formerly known as Canadian Tire
Acceptance, Limited (CTAL), the company underwent a name change, as of
January 1, 2002. “We wanted a company name that better reflects the broadened
scope of our business, and this was a good fit,” says Tom Gauld. “We’ve
entered the competitive global bankcard market, and our credit card customer
base has grown in leaps and bounds over the past five years. Now, more than
ever our company holds a stronger and broader position within the Canadian
financial community.”

Canadian Tire Financial Services Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of
Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. The company currently provides a variety
of credit and other financial services to more than six million Canadian Tire
customers. Services include the Options MasterCard, the Canadian Tire Retail
Credit Card, the Canadian Tire AutoClub, and a selection of insurance



NCR Corporation announced a deal to supply The Travelex Group with 200
84 and 50
Personas 70 automated teller machines that will be deployed at major
retail outlets across the U.K. during 2002. As part of the multimillion-pound
deal, NCR will also provide associated software and maintenance services.

“This deal allows Travelex to supplement the number of bank-sponsored ATMs
it has at airports throughout the U.K. with its own branded ATMs, expanding
its presence at new high street retail locations,” said Keith Richbell,
managing director at Travelex.

The agreement includes software to allow retailers to manage centrally the
look and feel of the ATM screens to reinforce brand image. The images on the
ATM screen could match a retailer’s billboard, television or Internet
advertising. In addition retailers could offer local in-store promotions to
increase revenue of certain items.

Travelex’s entrance into the U.K. market as an independent ATM deployer
follows its success with its own branded machines in the U.S. and Australia
explains Jeff Lutz, vice president for NCR’s Financial Solutions division.
“Travelex’s foundation in the retail and banking environment gives them an
excellent opportunity to voice the advantages of an on-site ATM to increase
revenue generation through growth in consumer footfall, offering their
consumers convenient access to their money.”

About Travelex

Travelex was established 25 years ago by Chairman & CEO Lloyd Dorfman.
Following the 440 million pound acquisition of Thomas Cook’s Global &
Financial Services business in March 2001, the Travelex Group has now become
the world’s largest foreign exchange specialist, with offices in 31 countries
and business relationships in 97 countries, serving over 29 million customers
each year. The Travelex Group today consists of:

* The world’s largest retail foreign exchange business — 40 percent of
the world’s airline passengers, over 1.3 billion people, pass through an
airport at which Travelex operates

* The world’s largest non-bank corporate international payments business

* The world’s oldest and second largest issuer of traveler’s checks, under
both the Visa and MasterCard brands

* The leading provider of outsourced travel money to banks, financial
institutions and major travel agency chains

* A leading provider of a range of travel-related services, including one
of the largest travel insurance agencies in the U.S., an award-winning
Global Assistance service, a range of prepaid debit cards and the
world’s leading foreign coin-handling business.

The Group is privately owned; Lloyd Dorfman is a 63 percent shareholder,
3i (one of Europe’s leading investment companies) is a 33 percent shareholder,
with the remainder held by management. In the year ending 31st December 2001
the business had revenues of approximately 376 million pounds and earnings
before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of approximately 63
million pounds (per 12/01 Management Accounts). Headquartered in London, the
Group employs over 6,000 people worldwide, with major centers of operation in
the Americas, Australia, Asia and Europe. In 2000 and 2001, Travelex was
identified by the London “Sunday Times” as one of the top 20 fastest growing
private companies in the U.K. Travelex was a category winner in the Ernst &
Young/Citibank “Entrepreneur of the Year” Awards and also received an award
for Media Impact at the “Profit Track 100” Annual Awards in July 2001. More
information about Travelex may be obtained from

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in providing Relationship
Technology(TM) solutions to customers worldwide in the retail, financial,
communications, manufacturing, travel and transportation, and insurance
markets. NCR’s Relationship Technology solutions include privacy-enabled
Teradata(R) warehouses and customer relationship management (CRM)
applications, store automation and automated teller machines (ATMs). The
company’s business solutions are built on the foundation of its long-
established industry knowledge and consulting expertise, value-adding
software, global customer support services, a complete line of consumable and
media products, and leading edge hardware technology. NCR employs 31,400 in
more than 100 countries, and is a component stock of the Standard & Poor’s 500
Index. More information about NCR and its solutions may be found at