Metris EVPs

Metris Companies Inc. this morning announced the promotion of two key executives.

Named executive vice presidents are Pat Fox, business development, and Jon Mendel, human resources. Both previously served as senior vice presidents.

Fox, who has more than 20 years of experience in credit card marketing, product management and sales, joined Metris in 1998. Before joining Metris, he held executive positions in the credit card group of Bank of America, including director of product management and business development.

Mendel, who joined Metris in 1998, has more than 20 years of human resource management experience. Before coming to Metris, he was senior vice president of human resources at TCF Financial Corp. in Minneapolis.

“Pat and Jon are strong leaders with a keen understanding of our business,” said Metris’ Chairman and CEO Ronald N. Zebeck. “Their substantial contributions are helping to drive Metris’ continued growth.”

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and enhancement services. The company was recently recognized as one of “America’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies” by Fortune magazine. Based in Minnetonka, Minn., Metris also has operations in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Champaign, Ill.; White Marsh, Md.; and Tulsa, Okla. Metris employs more than 4,300 people.

Visit Metris on the Internet at [www.metriscompanies.com][1], [www.directmerchantsbank.com][2], [www.idirectalert.com][3], [www.ifraudalert.com][4], [www.itripsaver.com][5], [www.metristravel.com][6], [www.purchaseshield.com][7], [www.prodigycard.com][8], [www.webmilescard.com][9]

[1]: http://www.metriscompanies.com/
[2]: http://www.directmerchantsbank.com/
[3]: http://www.idirectalert.com/
[4]: http://www.ifraudalert.com/
[5]: http://www.itripsaver.com/
[6]: http://www.metristravel.com/
[7]: http://www.purchaseshield.com/
[8]: http://www.prodigycard.com/
[9]: http://www.webmilescard.com/

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Freedom RPPS

Freedom Systems, a leading provider of e-payment hardware and software solutions, announced an agreement that will provide access to MasterCard’s Remote Payment and Presentment Service for its customers who access bills via unattended terminals in public locations.

Currently, customers access the terminals to pay their bills with a debit card. Now, customers will have increased access to billing information, including their account balances and history.

MasterCard’s RPPS program provides participating financial institutions flexible connectivity to process transactions without capturing or storing consumer or biller relationship information. Through the agreement, MasterCard will act as a bill presentment and payment “hub,” offering Freedom Systems’ customers the ability to view their bills electronically through MasterCard’s network.

“By leveraging MasterCard’s existing payment relationships through its Remote Payment and Presentment Service (RPPS), this collaborative effort allows Freedom Systems’ customers to receive greater access to bills than ever before,” said Cathleen Conforti, vice president, Remote Payment and Presentment Service for MasterCard. “MasterCard’s 14 years of experience, along with its proven payments network, risk management and customer service infrastructure, enable Freedom Systems to leverage MasterCard’s expertise, customer base and market knowledge.”

“Both Freedom Systems and MasterCard look for innovative ways to offer customers unique and flexible access to their bills. MasterCard’s expertise and payments network have allowed for the natural expansion of our payment services, which will offer the customers we serve even greater flexibility than before,” said Brian Spagat, CEO, Freedom Systems. “We’re pleased to be a part of the MasterCard RPPS offering.”

MasterCard started electronic payment processing in 1987 with the launch of its Remittance Processing Service (RPS). In March of 2000 MasterCard expanded its services adding bill presentment functionality. To reflect the enhancement, the program was renamed Remote Payment and Presentment Service (RPPS). By leveraging MasterCard’s proven infrastructure, RPPS currently leads the industry in electronically processing remote consumer payments.

About Freedom Systems

Freedom Systems is the worldwide leading provider of unattended, online e-payment terminals and control systems for a variety of markets. Freedom Systems’ terminals are designed to accept credit and debit cards, and/or cash and also offer detailed reporting and interfacing to accounting systems. Some of the markets Freedom Systems has developed and placed systems for include the petroleum industry and car washes, laundromats and apartment laundries, as well as apartment complexes and self-storage facilities for rent payment. Freedom Systems, Inc. is based in Chicago, IL can be reached at 1-888/537-8844 or through its website at www.freedomsystems.com.

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1 billion MasterCard(R), Cirrus(R) and Maestro(R) logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of 22,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories. MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds. With more than 18 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 1999, gross dollar volume exceeded US$727 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at www.mastercard.com.

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No Dot Com

Struggling to survive, the publicly traded company that produces Bankrate.com yesterday announced its second name change in less than twelve months. ilife.com, Inc. changed its name to Bankrate, Inc. and swapped its Nasdaq market symbol from “ILIF” to “RATE”. ilife.com, Inc. was known as Intelligent Life Corp. when it went public in May 1999. The company lost $34 million last year after raising $40 million in its IPO. After the resignation of its top management earlier this year, the firm has embarked on a path to survivability by shedding assets and slowing its cash burn rate. Following a 2Q/00 loss of $3.3 million and with around $7 million in cash on-hand, Bankrate sold its online insurance business in mid-July to First Union for $4.35 million in cash. Bankrate was losing approximately $1.8 million quarterly on its Pivot online insurance service. The Pivot sale has extended Bankrate’s life into 2001. The Company’s stock price has hovering between $1 and $2 per share, closing yesterday at $1.50 per share. Bankrate says its flagship web site, bankrate.com attracts 1.6 million unique visitors. Approximately 400,000 visitors surf bankrate.com’s credit card area. (See CF Library 5/14/99; 9/20/99; 2/11/00; 2/28/00; 6/5/00; 7/26/00; and 8/1/00)

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ReD & Paymentplus

Retail Decisions, a leading card-not-present risk management and online transaction services business for e-commerce, announced a partnership with Paymentplus, the leader in global payment solutions, to integrate its risk management and fraud detection services with the premium payment processing services of Paymentplus. The combined package will be available to joint customers.

ReD and Paymentplus are joining technological efforts to provide e-tail customers with an added-value solution. The relationship will provide the Paymentplus clients with fraud screening services for their e-commerce transactions. ReD benefits with an expanded e-commerce offering and a relationship with Paymentplus’ LiveProcessor which has the ability to manage high volume, mission critical payment processing that separates it from other Web-based solutions that have limited, concurrent transactions.

Paymentplus software processes an average of 10-12 million transactions per month, completing transactions valued at some $2 billion per month. More than 90 percent of these transactions are e-commerce payments. Clients include such e-commerce giants as Real Networks, AOL, Quote.com, Tupperware and Rexall.

“We searched long and hard for a fraud protection partner that would provide the best solution available in the marketplace for our clients,” said Jeff Foster, Vice President of Business Development for Paymentplus. “ReDs’ management of the eFalcon neural network combined with a series of sophisticated processing tools, customized databases and data analysis delivers a unique and effective card-not-present fraud service that is sure to maximize our clients’ bottom line.”

Paymentplus’ LiveProcessor(TM) will utilize ebitGuard(TM), the fraud prevention service solution from ReDs that is specifically designed for e-commerce transactions. The product integrates ReDs’ risk analysis services with proven modeling and database techniques, as well as neural risk management technology, to provide multi-level, real-time risk management decisions on card-not-present transactions.

Carl Clump, CEO of ReD commented, “Paymentplus has been the choice for direct marketers and dot.coms for more than five years and its client list speaks for itself. With our editGuard protection and Paymentplus’ LiveProcessor software, the world of e-tailing will become safer and more efficient.”

About Paymentplus

Paymentplus creates electronic payment processing software for the enterprise, combining online, call center, retail and IVR transactions in a central server. The company’s software, LiveProcessor, can complete more than 100,000 credit card and electronic check transactions per hour on a single server. LiveProcessor is the only payment processing application in the world to support Visa CVV2 and Amex CID security codes, procurement level 2 and 3 cards, electronic check processing and foreign currency settlement and support in a single product. Paymentplus currently has more than 90 installations and is completing transactions in 40 countries and 23 currencies on a daily basis. Among the company’s clients are Real Networks, Research in Motion, Nextel Communications, AT&T, Coca-Cola, NEC and Prudential Insurance.

LiveProcessor completes all of its transactions from a client-side server. More information about Paymentplus is available by visiting the company Web site at http://www.paymentplus.com.

About Retail Decisions

Retail Decisions (ReD) has more than fourteen years’ experience in card-not-present risk management and payment settlement services primarily to the telecommunications industry in the United States, and currently supplies its services to X.com, and IPC Media and over 45 of the largest telecommunications companies.

ReD also collates and distributes the UK’s most comprehensive ‘Hot Card File’ of lost and stolen cards, which is continually updated and is available to retailers 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The company currently protects nearly 10,000 retail sites in the UK, principally in high-payment volume sectors. Last year, ReD checked in excess of 1.0 billion transactions, stopping an estimated $190 million in fraudulent purchases. ReD also has offices in South Africa and Australia.

ReD’s global e-commerce fraud detection and prevention services, editGuard, provide real time risk assessment recommendations. editGuard incorporates eFalcon, a neural technology, developed by the leading neural software organization HNC, with a number of other sophisticated editGuard processes, databases and CNP experience to provide clients with a fully integrated service solution that delivers high quality risk management results. ReD is publicly traded on the full London Stock Exchange (FTSE) under the trading symbol, “RTD”. More information about ReD is available by visiting the company Web site at http://www.redplc.com.

Retail Decisions is a registered trademark of Retail Decisions, Inc. Other company and product names are the trademarks of their respective companies.

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K-Mart Card

Following a breaking news item that first appeared in CardFlash last Tuesday, Capital One and Kmart formally announced their new cobranded MasterCard yesterday. The new ‘Kmart MasterCard’ combines the private label card benefits along with MasterCard’s global acceptance. ‘Kmart MasterCard’ cardholders will receive benefits such as special promotions that are traditionally tied to private label retail cards. All ‘Kmart MasterCard’ purchases, made within the first six months, will carry no interest. And, marrying online and offline retailing, all purchases made with the ‘Kmart MasterCard’ at [BlueLight.com][1] can be returned or exchanged at any local Kmart store. The APR for non-Kmart purchases and for Kmart purchases after the intro period is prime +10.3%. There is no annual fee for the new MasterCard. However accounts 30+ days past due will incur a $4 monthly membership fee. The Cap One/Kmart direct mail solicitation for the new card is available via CardWatch ([http://www.cardwatch.com][2]). (See CF Library 9/19/00)

[1]: http://www.bluelight.com/
[2]: http://www.cardwatch.com/

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FDC Smart Cards

First Data says it is one of the first processors in the world to have the ability to personalize, process and deliver multi-application smart cards. FDC is the first processor in the U.S. to support the issuance of multi-application cards using the ‘Open Platform’ technology as part of the ‘smart VISA’ launch. FDC is handling the newly announced ‘Fusion Smart VISA’ being issued by Fleet Credit Card Services. The new VISA smart cards initially offer three applications, ‘VISA Smart Credit/Debit’, ‘loyalty/rewards’ and ‘secure Web access’, reside on a ‘Java 2.1’, ‘Open Platform Version 2.0’ chip. In the ‘VISA Smart Credit/Debit’ FDC will personalize, issue and fulfill cards, authorize transactions and handle the processing on behalf of card issuers. First Data will also set up the merchants to accept smart card payments through First Data Merchant Services. When the ‘loyalty/rewards’ application is enabled, FDC will personalize the chip with the applicable loyalty programs and FDMS will set up merchants to accept the loyalty programs and maintain the back-end loyalty host server. The ‘secure Web access’ application consists of three main steps on the part of First Data Resources: the company issues and personalizes certificates for secure Web access, maintains the certificate information through the life of the card and authenticates that the certificate is valid.

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Fujitsu ATM Deal

Cincinnati-based ATM Plus, Inc., an ATM maintenance concern, announced this morning it is getting into the business of offering new ATMs. The firm has signed a contract to offer Fujitsu ATMs that is expected to produce $10 million in annual sales. Founded in 1994 by Dave Parlin, ATM Plus provides first- and second-line ATM maintenance. Its sister firm, ATM Exchange Inc., also based in Cincinnati and founded in 1979 by Parlin, pioneered the refurbishment of automated-teller machines. ATM Plus says it will target financial institutions with assets under $10 billion in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Under terms of yesterday’s deal, ATM Plus will also provide installation, training, service and systems support to Fujitsu ATM customers in these states.

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Beenz Launches Ad Campaign

beenz.com, creator of beenz, the web’s currency, announced it has appointed FCB Worldwide to launch the company’s first-ever global advertising campaign. Banks Hoggins O’Shea/FCB (BHO/FCB), in London, will be FCB Worldwide’s lead office on the account, setting the strategy for the campaign.

The account will focus on building awareness of the beenz brand and increase the rapidly growing number of beenz consumer accounts, which currently stands at more than three million worldwide.

FCB will handle beenz.com’s worldwide creative and advertising strategy. The start of the new campaign is scheduled for late fall of 2000. Leading up to the launch, beenz and FCB will be working on a program of strategic alliances. To set the example for the viability of beenz as a currency, the agency will receive part of its fee from beenz.com in the form of beenz.

Key to the global advertising campaign is maximizing the return on investment per advertising dollar spent by using the Internet as a key communications medium with consumers. An integral part of beenz.com’s global advertising campaign will be to use “network effect technology,” sophisticated viral marketing techniques which will increase consumer acquisition rates and word of mouth.

Nicolas de Santis, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for beenz.com, said: “Research has shown that traditional advertising by dot coms has failed because they have not been strategic. They have simply `thrown money’ at the media. beenz.com has grown its consumer base to date by working with its participating merchants, and through public relations, guerrilla tactics and smart marketing. We are now embarking on the mission to make beenz the definitive global digital currency brand.”

“We have appointed FCB because they have demonstrated a commitment to show return on investment, as well as devising an innovative ad/media strategy that maximizes the potential of the Internet. Their work for us will not stop there. They will be facilitating and brokering new business relationships for beenz.com.”

A recent survey conducted by market research group Greenfield Online showed that Internet companies spending up to 70 percent of revenue on advertising might still not be creating brand awareness. The survey asked consumers to list five names that came to mind when thinking about e-commerce and the Internet. The results showed many Internet companies were not “top of mind,” or easily recognizable, despite large advertising budgets. The survey concluded that for companies on the Internet, the winning brands would be those that allocate their resources in the most effective ways.

Steve Hastings, managing partner for planning, BHO/FCB, said: “The ambition and energy of beenz to become the first global digital currency was a very powerful magnet for BHO/FCB. We are delighted to be working on what we believe is a great business and consumer proposition, and we have in fact decided as an agency to take part of our payment in beenz. We really foresee that beenz has the potential to become an icon brand of the new economy.”

Launched just 16 months ago, the universal nature of the web’s currency is reflected in its rapid expansion across the globe, with offices established in 10 countries. More than 25 million beenz transactions have taken place to date and beenz can be earned and/or spent at over 300 web sites around the world, including US-based BarnesandNoble.com, CD Now, and MP3.com. In addition, EddieBauer.com, Garden.com and more than 100 web merchants are participating in the successful beenzBack Shopping program.

Consumers earn beenz by simply visiting, interacting with, or shopping at participating web sites, and they can then spend their beenz with participating traders on DVDs, sporting goods, vacations, books, downloadable music, clothing and thousands of other products and services. Consumers can also convert their beenz directly into cash stored on a “rewardzcard”, a beenz-branded MasterCard debit card that is accepted by 18 million merchants.

About beenz.com

beenz.com, creator of beenz, the web’s currency(TM), is headquartered in New York with offices across North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. beenz is a powerful e-currency designed to attract and maintain the attention of consumers. beenz technology partners are Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL), Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: SUNW) and Exodus (NASDAQ: EXDS). For more information, please visit www.beenz.com.

About FCB Worldwide

BHO/FCB is one of the top 20 UK advertising agencies with annual billings of (pound)150 million, and part of the FCB global network with current worldwide billings of US$8.3 billion. FCB Worldwide is owned by True North Communications (NASDAQ: TNO).

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ATM Digital Handshake

iLumin Corporation maker of Digital Handshake the technology necessary to accelerate the closure of business, financial, government and personal transactions announced the formation of a strategic alliance with ATM Corporation of America. As part of the alliance, ATM will provide settlement services to its lender base through the use of iLumin’s Digital Handshake product, which combines the automation of documents and data with the enforceability of digital signatures to accelerate day-to-day business closings.

Mark Reynolds, vice president of real estate strategic development, states, “ATM is a great partner for iLumin. ATM facilitates automated appraisal and closing services for the growing online lender base. ATM, a thought leader in real estate vendor management addresses the growing need for cost effectiveness and improved delivery within the Real Estate Support and Settlement Services Industry. We’re excited about our relationship with ATM. This will further our mission to accelerate the growth of automated enforceable online transactions.”

Digital Handshake supports the array of technological receipt and delivery methods used by ATM’s Vision Systems(TM) including XML, X.12 and PDF document delivery. “By linking its Vision Systems to Digital Handshake ATM is enabling development and implementation of a paperless real estate settlement service reducing overall time and costs for the entire value chain,” said Fran Azur, President and CEO of ATM Corporation of America. “The bottom line, home purchasers save time and money.”

About iLumin Corporation

A privately held company founded in 1996, iLumin Corporation is the first company to provide an open software system enabling organizations to deliver automated enforceable online transactions (automated EOLT). iLumin removes the hassle of doing business by merging automation with enforceability.

iLumin’s Digital Handshake Server is the first fully automated technology solution that enables people to securely and privately complete a legally binding online transaction from start to finish. Digital Handshake Server dramatically reduces the time, costs, inefficiencies and errors associated with today’s labor-intensive transaction process. Other industry firsts using iLumin’s technology include: first start to finish online home purchase, first deed of trust electronically recorded, first (and only) technology used to automate entire court filing system, first piece of legislation signed electronically by Utah’s Governor Leavitt. For more information, visit http://www.ilumin.com.

About ATM Corporation

ATM provides a full range of title and settlement services throughout the United States. Additionally, ATM provides management consulting and technology services to lenders looking to develop vendor management subsidiaries.

The selection of ATM’s Vision Systems, over an ever-growing field of vendor management technology providers, once again affirms ATM’s position as the leader in vendor management consulting and development services.

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JCPenney Makeover

The resurgence of store credit cards is picking up steam as JCPenney and GE Card Services unleash a major direct mail campaign this week for the newly overhauled JCPenney card. The re-designed bold red JCPenney card has been personalized with the first letter of the individual member’s last name, the first of its kind in the USA. The card is being re-launched to current members and is reaching out to targeted JCPenney shoppers with instant promotions for newly approved members. The new card is also introducing ‘insiderperks’ which offers cardmembers exclusive promotions such as a one day discount shopping pass and special offers throughout the year in different retail departments, through the JCPenney catalogs, at jcpenney.com, and at Eckerd’s. In addition, the no-annual fee card will provide members with special financing options for big-ticket items, lower monthly payments, and expanded customer service for cardmembers on-line at jcpenney.com in mid-Oct. The new card and features will be introduced to the public through a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, beginning in November.

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NextFare

Cubic Transportation Systems is introducing this week two additions to its ‘Nextfare Solution Suite’ smart card technologies. Cubic is the first company to implement a fully operational contactless smart card payment system for transit in the U.S. The ‘Nextfare Advanced Modular Gate’ allows “touchless” gate entry while giving transit authorities the option to utilize any ‘ISO 14443’-approved smart card type, allowing them to take advantage of marketplace competition, ultimately lowering costs. Cubic’s ‘Web Target’ allows cardholders to add value to their smart card from a personal or laptop computer. Nextfare is a suite of software, hardware and e-commerce contactless card solutions developed to help transit agencies around the world develop and integrate high-tech infrastructure for e-commerce based smart fare collection.

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Australian MPEG ATMs

While millions of people around the world are watching the 2000 Olympics from Sydney, many Australians are watching their automated teller machines, thanks to the introduction of 200 new Diebold, Incorporated terminals with full-motion (MPEG) video. This is the first major network use of MPEG ATMs in Australia and the most extensive use of the new information medium across the Asia- Pacific region.

Diebold, the leading manufacturer of ATMs in Australia and a global leader in self-service, is supplying its advanced function cash dispensers, which can present advertising and marketing messages to consumers via large, 15-inch color monitors while they receive cash or other items of value. These terminals, located in convenience stores and service stations, will also have the potential to be Web-enabled using Diebold’s OPTinet (TM) Internet software solution.

The contract is the result of a strategic alliance between the National Australia Bank, which will supply the switching and connection services; AAP Communication Services, which owns and operates the ATMs; Diebold, which will supply the terminals and maintenance; and a national service station/convenience store operator.

AAP Communication Services, which awarded the contract to Diebold, won the National Australia Bank contract against traditional suppliers.

Craig McNaughton, National Australia Bank’s ATM channel manager, said the purchase is a significant step in the bank’s expansion program.

“We are continually increasing the range of functions and service quality available to the customer through our ATM network, and the new technology in these ATMs opens up a new era of ATM communication.”

According to Thomas W. Swidarski, Diebold’s vice president of global marketing, ATM screens with movie-quality resolution can be used to advertise the bank’s products and services, as well as third party advertisements, creating the potential for a new source of revenue for the financial institution.

Diebold, Incorporated is a global leader in providing integrated self- service delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, the company employs more than 11,000 associates with representation in more than 80 countries worldwide and headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of $1.3 billion in 1999 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [http://www.diebold.com][1].

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

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