STUDENT DEBT

“Student debt has increased by a quarter in 12 months, yet on average students spend £20 a week on drink and 86% own a mobile phone”, according to the Student Living Report 2002, published today.

The report represents one of the most comprehensive quantitative surveys of full time undergraduate and postgraduate students. The findings are part of an ongoing study to explore how students are meeting the challenges and opportunities of the higher education experience.

This year the report addresses new areas such as attitudes to politics, part-time work, living on a budget and stress, whilst uncovering fresh information on issues covered in the 2001 report such as academic studies, accommodation, financial preparations and crime.

The UNITE Group plc, the UK’s leading specialist provider of student accommodation services, commissioned MORI (Market & Opinion Research International), to conduct the survey among over 1,000 full time undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland between October and November 2001. Interviews were conducted face to face across twenty universities.

Headline findings from the report show:

Financial:

– 1 in 4 students are now admitting to financial trouble

– At the start of the academic year 2001 / 02 university students say they currently owe and must repay on average £4,203, an increase of £877 since last year (26%).

– 43% of students have a part-time job during term time (1-29 hours per week)

– Student debt and juggling university work with other commitments are the worst aspects of university life
– 46% of students would prefer the current system of student loans to the new system of maintenance grants and higher student taxation on graduation.

– 90% believe that the money they are spending on their education is a good investment in their future.
Politics:

– If there was a general election tomorrow, our young professionals in training would vote as follows: 28% Labour, 20% Lib Dem and 11% Conservative.

– Students are more likely to support a Single European Currency than the General Public.

– Given the choice, students said they preferred the current system of student loans (46%) to any potential new system involving maintenance grants and graduate taxation.
Leisure pursuits:

– Going to the pub is the preferred social pursuit of 52% of students. On average, students spend £20 on alcoholic drink in a typical week.

– Two-thirds of students own a PC and/or laptop – an increase of 7% from last year-86% of students now own a mobile phone.
Attitudes:

– Over half of students admit to being more stressed since starting at university

– 86% have an optimistic outlook for the future and 88% are happy with life.

– 96% consider going to university a worthwhile experience.

– 25% of students have been a victim of crime.

– 60% of students still believe in the institution of marriage.
Politics:

– If there was a general election tomorrow, our young professionals in training would vote as follows: 28% Labour, 20% Lib Dem and 11% Conservative.

– Students are more likely to support a Single European Currency than the General Public.

Given the choice, students said they preferred the current system of student loans (46%) to any potential new system involving maintenance grants and graduate taxation.

Commenting on the Student Living Report, UNITE’s Chief Executive, Nicholas Porter, said:

“The Student Living Report 2002 is one of the most comprehensive studies of the views, concerns and aspirations of students. This year’s research has highlighted some interesting issues such as the fact that over 50% of students now admit to more stress since starting at university, and that three quarters are in debt. Through continuous research, UNITE can keep pace with changing student lifestyles. We will not only be better equipped to help our partners within the HE sector plan for their future accommodation needs, but will also be able to support students through care and welfare in our own student accommodation.”

Professor Bob Worcester, Chairman of MORI, added:

“The `Student Experience’ is constantly evolving. To ensure that their needs and wants are met, it is important for all involved in the provision of Higher Education services to gain an in-depth understanding of the issues facing today’s students. MORI is delighted to be working in partnership with UNITE for a second year to present the findings of this enlightening survey.”

Technical Note: MORI conducted 1,068 face-to-face interviews with full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students between 22nd October and 16th November 2001.

Additional press releases are available and Photographs can be accessed via password at the Company’s website at http://www.unite-group.co.uk.

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NextCard Layoffs

NextCard, Inc.announced that it has reduced its staff by approximately 170 persons, or 19 percent of the Company’s current workforce. The reductions came from all areas of the Company’s operations. More information on risk factors affecting the Company is available in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and current reports on Form 8-K.

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TOUCHSCREEN DEAL

Elo TouchSystems,
Inc., the global leader in touch technology and a unit of Tyco Electronics,
today announces that NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display of America, Inc., the
number one vendor of LCD desktop displays, has named Elo TouchSystems as an
Authorized Integrator of touchscreen technology for NEC-Mitsubishi LCD display
products. Under the agreement, Elo will provide touchscreen technology and
expert integration services for NEC-Mitsubishi display customers. The NEC-
Mitsubishi LCD display will be shown at booth #3050 at the Healthcare
Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference & Exhibition,
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia from January 28 to 31, 2002.

“We are pleased to have Elo as an authorized integrator because of their
expertise in touchscreen applications,” says Lisa Ahern, program manager for
NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display of America, Inc. “We are also impressed
with the quality of Elo’s integration services and touchscreen technology. We
believe this agreement represents an exciting new dimension for NEC-Mitsubishi
display products.”

“Combining our touchscreen technology with NEC-Mitsubishi LCD display
products provides an excellent touch solution for customers in a number of
vertical markets,” says Scott Smith, Elo’s OEM Sales Manager. “Because NEC-
Mitsubishi LCD products have great designs and outstanding performance, the
addition of Elo’s touchscreen technology can now turn LCD products into
superior interactive touchmonitors.”

“Elo qualified as an authorized NEC-Mitsubishi Select Integrator, because
they exhibit superior integration capabilities, are able to support NEC-
Mitsubishi approved quality control and manufacturing work processes, can
maintain regulatory approvals including FCC and UL compliance, and meet
Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI) requirements,” added Ahern. “Meeting
these criteria is necessary to insure that NEC-Mitsubishi’s quality standards
are maintained.”

Elo TouchSystems will be offering the NEC MultiSync LCD1550V, NEC
MultiSync LCD1850X the NEC MultiSync LCD2010X and the newly launched NEC
MultiSync LCD1850E with additional LCD models to be offered in the future.
These touchmonitors are available with various touch technologies to address
the many needs of the touch market. The most popular include Elo’s AccuTouch
five-wire resistive and IntelliTouch surface-wave touch technologies.

Elo’s AccuTouch five-wire resistive touch technology is the workhorse of
touchscreens, providing unsurpassed performance. When activated with a
finger, gloved hand, fingernail, or an object such as a credit card, AccuTouch
delivers a fast, accurate response every time. AccuTouch is impervious to
environmental conditions such as liquid spills and splashes, humidity, and
washdown. It’s the most contamination-resistant touchscreen available.
AccuTouch is widely used in point-of-sale, industrial, and medical
applications.

Elo’s IntelliTouch surface-wave technology is the optical standard of
touchscreens. Its pure glass construction provides superior optical
performance and makes it the most scratch-resistant technology available.
It’s nearly impossible to physically “wear out” IntelliTouch touchscreens.
IntelliTouch is widely used in public access environments including kiosk,
gaming, and office automation applications.

Integrated NEC-Mitsubishi touchmonitors are available through Elo in both
black and white cabinet options. NEC-Mitsubishi monitors are backed by a
three-year limited warranty, including backlight, in addition to Elo’s five-
year (AccuTouch) and ten-year (IntelliTouch) touch technology warranties. For
more information on NEC-Mitsubishi LCD touchmonitors and other Elo products
and services, contact Elo TouchSystems at 800-ELO-TOUCH (800-356-8682) or
visit Elo’s Web site at www.elotouch.com. or direct electronic mail inquiries
to eloinfoelotouch.com.

IntelliTouch and AccuTouch are trademarks of Elo TouchSystems, Inc. All
other products and company names referred to herein may be trademarks or
registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.

About Elo TouchSystems

Elo TouchSystems, Inc., global leader in touch technology, is a unit of
Tyco Electronics. Elo develops, manufactures and markets a complete line of
touch products that simplify the interface between people and computers in
both public-access and employee-activated applications. Founded in 1971, the
company is headquartered in Fremont, California, with manufacturing sites in
the U.S., France and Japan. Elo’s main regional offices are in Kessel-Lo,
Belgium and Yokohama, Japan, with additional sales and technical support
offices worldwide. For more information on Elo TouchSystems’ products and
services, call 1-800-ELO-TOUCH in the U.S. or +32-16-35-2100 in Europe or
visit our Web site at www.elotouch.com.

About Tyco Electronics

Tyco Electronics is one of the major business units of Tyco International
Ltd. (NYSE: TYC, LSE: TYI, BSE: TYC). Headquartered in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, USA, Tyco Electronics is the world’s largest passive electronic
components manufacturer, and a world leader in cutting-edge wireless
technologies, fiber optic active components, and complete power systems. The
company has facilities located in 51 countries serving customers in the
aerospace, automotive, computer, communications, consumer electronics,
industrial and power industries. Tyco Electronics provides advanced technology
products from over thirty well-known and respected product brands, including
Agastat, Alcoswitch, AMP, AMP Netconnect, Buchanan, CoEv, Critchley, Elcon,
Elo TouchSystems, HTS, M/A-COM, Madison Cable, OEG, Potter & Brumfield,
Raychem, Schrack, Simel and TDI Batteries.

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Hypercom Lands MSI Deal

Merchant Services Inc., a leading provider of bankcard merchant services, has awarded Hypercom Corp. a 12-month, multi-million dollar contract for 10,000 Hypercom card payment terminals.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merchant Services will provide Hypercom’s card payment terminals to thousands of merchants in the retail and hospitality sectors, as well as to other emerging markets.

“Hypercom is the leader in electronic payments and its card payment terminals are the most advanced and proven products on the market. They deliver an array of secure Internet-based, value-added services at the point-of-sale that are second to none.

“And that’s what our merchants want to compete in today’s highly competitive market,” said Mario V. Parisi Jr., director of operations, Merchant Services Inc., New Jersey.

“This order is a win-win for Merchant Services’ sales force, distributors, customers and Hypercom, and another strong validation of our epic ICE strategy and the unequaled versatility of our ICE products,” said Chris Alexander, president and chief executive officer, Hypercom Corp.

Hypercom’s epic (ePOS-infocommerce(TM)) ICE(TM) devices are compact, high performance, touch screen-based card payment terminals.

ICE terminals support a range of value-added applications and services including: electronic signature and receipt capture, e-mail, on-screen advertising, interactive electronic coupons, and cash management reporting through a standard browser — as well as secure credit, debit and smart card functions.

About Merchant Services Inc. ([www.msihq.com][1])

Headquartered in New Jersey, Merchant Services Inc. (MSI) and its affiliates provide services to more than 25,000 businesses in the retail, hospitality and emerging market sectors. Founded in 1989, MSI presents its customers with a broad range of premier transaction processing solutions.

The company has a proactive philosophy of service, which accounts for its fast turn-around of new merchant applications and high retention rate of their expanding merchant portfolio.

About Hypercom ([www.hypercom.com][2])

Hypercom Corp. is the leading global provider of electronic payment solutions that add value at the point-of-sale for consumers, merchants and acquirers, and yield increased profitability for its customers.

Hypercom’s products include secure, high performance, Web-enabled card payment terminals that work seamlessly with its networking equipment and software applications for e-commerce, m-commerce, smart cards and traditional payment applications.

The company’s widely accepted ePOS-infocommerce (epic) framework of consumer-activated, EMV-certified, touch-screen ICE (Interactive Consumer Environment) terminals enable acquirers and merchants to decrease costs, increase revenues and improve customer retention.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Hypercom is independently acknowledged as the leading provider of point-of-sale card payment terminals. Demand for Hypercom’s terminals surpassed 1 million units last year alone. Hypercom today maintains an installed base of more than 5 million terminals in over 100 countries, which conduct over 10 billion transactions annually.

Hypercom is a registered trademark of Hypercom Corp. ICE and ePOS-infocommerce are trademarks of Hypercom Corp. All other products or services mentioned in this document are trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks or registered service marks of their respective owners.

[1]: http://www.msihq.com
[2]: http://www.hypercom.com

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Vital Hires Parker

Vital Processing Services, a recognized leader in technology-based commerce enabling services, announced the appointment of Catherine Corby Parker as product executive in Vital’s Products and Marketing Group to lead the company’s products and market strategy development. Parker will report to Denise Lewis, executive vice president of products and marketing for Vital and will be based in Vital’s Columbus, Ga., office.

“Cathy has already contributed valuable expertise to Vital,” comments Lewis. “During the last year she has served as a consultant to Vital’s Products Group providing strategic planning and strong, focused management. I look forward to having Cathy on board full time so that Vital can benefit more fully from her vast knowledge of the industry.”

“Vital is an invigorated organization with a strong management team focused on winning by helping their clients win in the marketplace,” says Parker. “When you find a company like this, you don’t want to just advise it, you want to be part of it.”

Parker brings 20 years of financial services experience to Vital. Prior to joining Vital full-time, Parker managed her own financial services consulting firm Corby & Company which provided strategic planning and implementation support services to financial institutions and financial technology companies. Previously she served as senior vice president, Speer & Associates, where she led the firm’s Electronic Commerce activities. Prior to that, Parker was a director at Barnett Bank where she headed the alternative delivery system group and gained a reputation in the industry as an innovator in electronic delivery of financial services. She has served in strategic planning roles at Chemical Bank, Fidelity Bank and AT&T Universal Card. Parker’s consulting experience includes Booz, Allen & Hamilton and Earnings Performance Group. She is active in the Bank Administration Institute (BAI) and is a frequent speaker at industry events. Parker holds a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia School of Business.

About Vital Processing Services

Arizona-based Vital Processing Services(R) (Vital(R)) is a leader in technology-based commerce enabling services. Vital’s clients include acquirers and merchant service providers that offer electronic payment processing and related services to merchants. Vital provides leading point- of-sale (POS) products and services, electronic authorization and data capture; clearing, settlement and exception processing; accounting, billing and reporting; risk management; and merchant support services. Vital also provides POS equipment management services through its subsidiary Vital Merchant Services and a full suite of Information Services in conjunction with Vital’s wholly owned subsidiary GRS. Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of Visa U.S.A. and TSYS(R) (NYSE: TSS), a global leader in payments processing. Additional information regarding Vital can be found at .

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2002 Resolutions

More than 62% of Americans say they plan to charge less to credit cards this year, but only 28% say they will use their debit cards less during 2002 than last year. A solid 94% indicate they will pay down credit card debt during 2002, according to a home page poll by CardWeb.com. Among other consumer resolutions for 2002: more than 80% plan to save more in 2002, but only 12% plan to consolidate credit card debt to a home equity loan or home mortgage in 2002. When it comes to travel, 56% of consumers say they will travel the same or less than last year.

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ADS 4Q/01

Dallas-based Alliance Data Systems reported Wednesday that fourth quarter revenue increased 18% to $208.6 million and that cash earnings for 4Q/01 increased 84% to $9.2 million. Transaction Services revenue, which accounts for approximately half of the Company, increased 21% to $136.9 million. Credit Services revenue, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of the Company, increased 16% to $77.1 million. Marketing Services revenue, accounting for the remaining one-quarter of the Company, increased to $51.7 million compared to $51.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2000. ‘Air Miles’ reward miles issued and redeemed each remained strong. EBITDA for this segment increased 10% due to continued strong growth in ‘Air Miles’ reward miles issued. ADS projects revenue for 2002 to range between $860 and $865 million. For complete details on Alliance Data Systems’ 4Q/01 results visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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

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US ID Smart Card

The Smart Card Alliance released a white paper this week which describes key policy, process and technology considerations for a secure personal ID system weighed against the protection of individual privacy rights. The paper outlines why smart card technology is currently the best choice for delivering cost-effective, fraud-proof and accurate identity verification. The white paper will be the focus of the first day of the upcoming Smart Card Alliance conference, to be held in Austin, Texas next week. The conference will take up the personal ID card debate and its ramifications for the U.S. population, economy, and technical infrastructure. More than 20 organizations participated in the task force to develop the white paper including: Atmel, Avisian, Caradas, CrossCom National, Datacard Group, Datakey, Foley Hoag, Gemplus, Huntington Bank, IBM, Identrus, MasterCard, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, Oberthur Card Systems,SchlumbergerSema, SCM Microsystems, VISA, and Xansa. The white paper is available on CardFlash Online today.

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GO Software and @pos Team

Return On Investment Corporation and @pos.com, Inc. jointly announced the formation of a strategic alliance between GO Software, an ROI subsidiary and leading provider of payment processing solutions, and @pos, a leading transaction point-of-service provider of hardware, software and ASP services for information capture and retrieval alongside card-based payments. To launch the alliance, GO Software and @pos have signed a development agreement and a co-marketing agreement.

Under the terms of the development agreement, GO Software will develop and provide payment processing software to integrate with point-of-sale hardware terminals manufactured and marketed under the @pos brand. The co-marketing agreement allows each company access to the other’s primary markets. GO’s payment processing software is used by over 50,000 businesses, primarily in retail point-of-sale, mail and telephone order, and Internet e-commerce. State-of-the-art secure transaction terminals from @pos have been deployed in high profile mass retailers and department stores along with government and banking institutions. On an average daily basis, @pos’ terminals capture over 8 million electronic signatures worldwide.

Tony Abruzzio, Vice President and General Manager of GO Software, said, “This alliance is a win-win situation for both parties. @pos’ expertise in information capture and retrieval and next-generation payment technologies complement GO Software’s proven payment processing software for brick-and-mortar and online retail merchants. The collaboration of our respective core competencies will provide superior products and services to @pos point-of-service merchants. Additionally, introducing @pos products to the businesses GO serves will provide a more compelling and comprehensive solution for our customers.”

“@pos is confident in its selection of GO Software as the provider of payment processing software for our point-of-sale payment terminals because of GO’s superior product development and customer service,” John Wood, President and CEO of @pos stated. “Now, with GO, @pos can extend our point-of-sale expertise to all classes of merchants from mass retailers to smaller neighborhood stores. We look forward to a long and successful relationship.”

About Return On Investment Corporation ([www.roicorporation.com][1])

More than 50,000 businesses use ROI software to process payments on virtually any computer and to connect IBM midrange systems to the rest of the world. In the United States, in terms of the number of payment processing software licenses, GO Software (an ROI subsidiary) is the number one company in the IBM midrange market and is second behind First Data Corp. in all computing markets. Campana Data (an ROI subsidiary) markets consulting and transaction processing services. Net400 (an ROI subsidiary) provides software for IBM midrange computers that facilitates e-mail and e-commerce communications, system and device connectivity, web enablement of business applications, and business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions.

About @pos.com

@pos (OTC BB:EPOS) is a leader in secure, interactive electronic transaction technologies. The company provides signature capture products, web-enabled payment platforms, smart card interfaces, encryption engines supporting DES and Triple DES, and an extensive suite of software tools. With complete end-to-end solutions, @pos offers internet-based, hosted services, under its Crossvue brand, for loss prevention and electronic receipt storage and retrieval. @pos currently services the retail, government and banking market for applications that include electronic signature capture, debit and credit payments. For more information, see www.atpos.com, email to info@atpos.com, or call 408-468-5400.

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

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TransLink Debuts

San Francisco Bay Area commuters will start using smart cards tomorrow as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and a half-dozen transit operators kick off ‘Phase I’ of a six-month pilot program of the ‘TransLink’ electronic fare payment system. In preparation for the public launch, MTC and the TransLink Customer Service Center earlier this week mailed out ‘TransLink’ smart cards to approximately 4,300 program volunteers. Each card has $3 loaded in TransLink e-cash. All together, 18 rail stations, 31 bus lines, three ferry terminals, and two light-rail lines have been outfitted with ‘TransLink’ card-readers. Participants in the pilot can load value onto their fare cards at self-serve ‘Add Value Machines’ in transit stations and some 40 retail locations throughout the Bay Area, or by calling the ‘TransLink Customer Service Center’. After the success of the pilot program is determined, MTC and the participating agencies plan to install ‘TransLink’ equipment on all 21 Bay Area transit systems, which together carry in excess of 1.6 million riders a day. MTC has contracted with Motorola and ERG Limited to implement and operate the ‘TransLink’ fare-collection system.

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JCB CARDS

JCB International Company announced today plans to issue credit cards in China. In cooperation with the People’s Bank of China, JCB plans to grant card-issuing licenses to Chinese commercial banks such as Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of Communications.

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COOP BANK OUTSOURCES

SchlumbergerSema, a business unit of Schlumberger Limited, today announced that it has won a comprehensive outsourcing contract from The Coop Bank to manage and operate its central information technology platform.

The Coop Bank awarded the contract, worth over US$7 million, to SchlumbergerSema because of its expertise and experience in managing outsourced IT services, and more importantly, because it offered the best value for money. The Coop Bank was also impressed by the SchlumbergerSema company culture and its strong representation in Sweden.

“We are now in the position to concentrate on our core business of banking and on the marketplace in general,” commented Thomas Idermark, managing director, The Coop Bank. “We are looking forward to working with SchlumbergerSema, a company we believe to be dependable and a long-term supplier of reliable data processing services. Efficient, well managed outsourcing is critical to our success.”

SchlumbergerSema will provide archive solutions, output services, server operation and hardware in addition to creating an interface between the post office, bank and benefit check cashing services. SchlumbergerSema also operates the payment card systems, making this a complete end-to-end IT solution.
“This is an important contract for SchlumbergerSema,” commented Tommy Boman, managing director, Sweden, SchlumbergerSema. “Strategically, it strengthens the position of the company in the financial sector. It is also further evidence that outsourcing is truly a commercial option for companies where time-to-market is an important factor for success.”

In Scandinavia, SchlumbergerSema employs more than 2,100 people at some 30 locations.

About SchlumbergerSema

SchlumbergerSema is a leading information technology services company providing consulting, systems integration, managed services and products to the telecommunications, energy and utilities, finance, transport and public sector markets. More than 30,000 employees serving customers in 65 countries, SchlumbergerSema is one of two business segments of Schlumberger Limited, a global technology services company. For more information about SchlumbergerSema, visit http://www.slb.com.

About the Coop Bank

The Coop Bank is owned by Kooperativa Förbundet (the Swedish Cooperative Wholesale Society) with 45%, Skandia ( insurance company) 35% and Telia (the Swedish Telecom) 20%. The Bank will target the households economy and especially the 3,5 million MedMera cardholder within the Cooperative Wholesale Society. The Bank will mainly offer products for saving, borrowing and payment but will in the future mediate fond products, house-loan and other financial services close to daily life. The Coop Bank will offer its services via Internetbank, Telephonbank, shops and MedMera card. The Bank plans to start its operation during spring 2002.

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