Smart Fun Cards

Smart cards on carnival midways is gathering momentum. WA-based The Pathways Group is expanding it smart card agreement with Funtastic Traveling Shows. The new agreement calls for Pathways to supply Funtastic with 14,000 additional smart cards, up to 75 additional terminals, and the necessary support services for the hardware and software. It is expected that visitors to the various Funtastic carnival sites will use the ‘Fun Card’ developed by Pathways to perform 300,000 transactions per month during the height of the season in July and August and to perform 60,000 transactions per month in the other months during the summer and fall seasons. With the launch of the Pathways’ midway smart card system last October in San Francisco, Funtastic became the first carnival in the USA to use smart card technology.

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VirtualBank Opens

VirtualBank, a technology-based financial services company focused on innovative technology and customer service, announced its official launch and its first three affinity partners.

Designed to meet the needs of the technology-savvy professional, VirtualBank offers the convenience of banking on-line, plus a class of personalized, competent service unprecedented in banking today. Consumers can apply for VirtualBank’s full suite of deposit and lending products, account aggregation, bill payment and financial advisory services through a proprietary technical platform that is uninhibited by the product-centered bureaucracy and legacy systems of traditional banks.

Affinity Partnerships

In addition to offering banking services to consumers from its own site — www.VirtualBank.com — VirtualBank announced the industry’s first online banking model that targets knowledge workers within innovative companies. Today VirtualBank introduced its first affinity partners — EMC Corporation, Textron Financial Corporation and The Association of Compaq Employees.

“Technology professionals are the perfect customers for VirtualBank. They are the most discerning users of the Internet, attracted to companies with innovative technology and likely to appreciate and utilize VirtualBank’s value-added services. We feel that by developing products and services that meet the needs of the most sophisticated users of the Internet, our platform will appeal to everyone,” said Rory Brown, Chairman and CEO of VirtualBank.

VirtualBank is poised to implement its first affinity partnership with EMC Corporation, the world leader in information storage systems and a member of the Fortune e-50 index of companies leading the new economy. A co-branded affinity site — EMCVirtualBank — will reside on the EMC Intranet and provide the full suite of banking and financial services for over 18,000 EMC employees.

“We purposefully selected EMC as our launch partner because of its cutting-edge approach to business and forward-thinking leadership team,” said Courtney McCashland, Executive Vice President of Marketing and People Strategy at VirtualBank. “I’ve worked with top HR executives at more than thirty high-profile companies over the last few years. We believe EMC provides an ideal model as our pioneer partner to provide this service to its employees. EMC is a trendsetter that values its employees.”

“In this competitive job market, employee satisfaction and retention are key areas of focus. Our partnership with VirtualBank allows us to offer our employees an innovative, time-saving benefit that reinforces our commitment to our employees,” said Jack Mollen, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at EMC.

Textron Financial Corporation, a subsidiary of Textron Inc., and Compaq Corporation, a Fortune Global 100 company and the largest supplier of computing systems in the world, will also offer VirtualBank’s services to their employees.

“I am pleased to announce that Textron Financial is entering into this exciting pilot program for our organization, for its success may lead to a much larger affinity relationship with Textron Inc.,” remarked John D. Butler, Executive Vice President Administration and Chief Human Resources Officer at Textron Inc. “This new benefit for Textron Financial’s employees further demonstrates our commitment to bringing the power of the Internet into our employees’ professional and personal lives.”

Service Offerings

VirtualBank uses its unique technology platform to allow customers to complete one application for the rest of their lives. VirtualBank’s technology enables customers to open additional accounts without reentering basic information. The Bank’s low cost structure allows it to offer better rates than traditional banks.

— Deposit Accounts — VirtualBank offers a complete array of deposit accounts, including Checking, Savings, Money Market, CDs and IRAs.

— Loans — VirtualBank offers a full array of consumer lending products, including credit cards, automobile loans, home mortgage loans, home equity loans and lines of credit and personal loans.

— VirtualView — VirtualBank’s VirtualView service provides customers with one-stop access to their personal accounts, including investments, bank and credit card statements, bills, reward programs and e-mail communications, saving them the time and hassle of logging into multiple sites.

— Financial Advisory Services — Each customer is assigned a Relationship Manager who has a complete picture of the customer’s finances and is available for individualized consultations. Sophisticated online planning tools also empower customers to make better financial decisions.

— Bill Payment & Presentment – VirtualBank is the first software installation of the new Checkfree “E-Bill” software which is the next generation of Electronic Payment Technology.

VirtualBank customers can withdraw cash at any of the 531,000 automatic teller machines nationwide displaying the PLUS logo.

VirtualBank’s Technology

VirtualBank’s banking system, which is based on EMC’s industry-leading enterprise storage systems and software for the management, sharing and protection of its information, operates on Microsoft Windows 2000, which enables seamless communication between applications and easy consolidation of information on an Internet-compatible platform. VirtualBank was featured in Microsoft’s “Voice of the Customer” campaign as one of four companies that are changing the way business is done, and was major partner in Microsoft’s Windows 2000 launch in February.

“Keeping all of our deposit and lending functions in-house on a completely integrated system built for the Internet allows VirtualBank to offer a level of convenience and customer service you just can’t achieve with legacy systems,” said Bill Decker, President of VirtualBank. “Controlling our technology also enables us to innovate quickly to enhance the customer experience.”

About VirtualBank

VirtualBank, a privately-held financial institution based in North Palm Beach, Florida, was founded in April 1999 to leverage the Internet to fundamentally change the way people bank. Utilizing the Internet, Windows 2000 and its core technology, VirtualBank provides consumers highly personalized financial services through a single point-of-contact for all financial transactions. More information about the company can be obtained by visiting its Web site at [http://www.virtualbank.com][1].

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

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Pathways Coupons

The Pathways Group has signed a contract with Nietech Corp. to provide transaction processing for an electronic retail coupon program. The CommunityCoupon.com program currently operates a paper-based coupon program with 200 merchants that benefits non-profit organizations in Sonoma County, CA. The electronic coupon program will feature a new magnetic stripe card to be distributed free-of-charge to community-minded consumers by the non-profit organizations. With the POS terminals located at participating local businesses, the consumer uses the card, the number of the card is read, and the merchant enters the amount of the purchase. Under the agreement, Pathways will provide CommunityCoupon.com with a proprietary network for recording card activity and transmitting a report of the daily activity back to the CommunityCoupon.com host network. In addition, Pathways will run a nightly settlement application, which will handle transfer of funds between merchant accounts and CommunityCoupon.com’s bank account. CommunityCoupon.com will then disperse the funds to the designated non-profit agencies.

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PocketCard Partnerships

ProScout.com, the industry’s best known professional scouting organization, ModelingChannel.com, a modeling webzine that provides insightful industry information, and ActingChannel.com, an online resource for aspiring and professional actors, Thursday announced an affiliation with PocketCard Inc., [www.pocketcard.com][1], the creator of a sponsored teen Visa debit card.

PocketCard provides a high-tech Visa debit card for families and businesses that allows supervised purchasing power for teens and employees. Parents or employers instantly transfer funds to the PocketCard directly from their bank account via the Web or any touchtone phone. Spending can be monitored at www.pocketcard.com and through instant email alerts.

ProScout.com, ModelingChannel.com and ActingChannel.com are among the Internet brands of Entertainment Industry Services Inc. (EISI), an established entertainment company.

ProScout.com, ModelingChannel.com, and ActingChannel.com will receive commission for each visitor to their sites that enroll for a PocketCard via a link from ProScout.com, ModelingChannel.com, and/or ActingChannel.com.

Affiliate programs offer commissions to web sites that link online users to a particular e-commerce site and generate sales.

According to a recent survey by Zandl Group, 38 percent of teenage Internet users access the Web more than once a day. Thirty-one percent of teens with Internet access purchased a product from an online shopping site. Seventy-eight percent of teen’s purchases are paid for using a parent’s credit card.

“Along with PocketCard, we can begin to teach teens responsible ways of spending by giving them the independence and distinction of having their own Visa cards, but at the same time giving them controlled budgets for their purchases,” said Greg Hartman, chief executive officer, Entertainment Industry Services Inc.

About PocketCard Inc.

PocketCard is a parent-sponsored Visa spending card that allows teens freedom to shop anywhere Visa is accepted — online or off. A parent or other adult sponsor must enroll at www.pocketcard.com to link a checking or other bank account with the Visa PocketCard account.

The teen can only spend the amount of money that is in their PocketCard account. Any attempt to spend more is denied at the point of purchase. Funds can be instantly transferred and monitored via the web or touchtone phone, and the sponsor can receive an instant e-mail update with each purchase.

Incorporated in July 1998 and issuing cards since June 1999, PocketCard Inc. invented the financial service product known as sponsored payment cards: special purchasing cards for financial dependants with instant funding, reporting and control.

Enabling that unique service is a patent-pending technology platform that allows the instant transfer of money and information — anytime, anyplace — in both the online and offline worlds. PocketCard’s business model reaches families, businesses and individuals with its innovative e-finance and relationship marketing services.

PocketCard works with leading card issuers, processors, retailers, media and others to deliver these applications.

About ProScout

ProScout, a wholly owned subsidiary of Entertainment Industry Services Inc. (EISI), an established entertainment company, is recognized by model and talent agencies as the worldwide leader for the professional and aspiring entertainment community.

ProScout’s next live event is TalentFest2000(TM) Phoenix, June 30-July 2, 2000, a weekend of information, insight, and big-time connections. Headquartered in Scottsdale, ProScout also has offices in Beverly Hills, Calif., and New York City. For more information visit www.proscout.com or call 480/425-3663.

About ModelingChannel.com

A modeling webzine that provides insightful industry information such as agency profiles, tips on how to be discovered, and behind-the-scenes features on some of today’s hottest rising stars. ModelingChannel.com has supplied original content for various web communities and websites, such as AOL and Fashion Live.

About ActingChannel.com

An online resource for aspiring and professional actors, the site offers agency news, a free web page and email account, and other valuable tips, tools and information for actors.

About Entertainment Industry Services Inc. (EISI)

EISI is a Delaware corporation formed in January 2000. The company operates primarily in four business segments within the live event and electronic media (TV, Radio and Internet) industries.

EISI is positioned to capitalize on the growing teen and young adult demographic buying power and its desire to be “in the know” and live with what is currently cool. The company has offices in Scottsdale and Beverly Hills.

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

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M-Bank Released

Leading wireless solution provider NetPace Inc. releases M-Bank, a wireless solution for the Financial Services industry. M-Bank ([wap.netpace.com][1]) is a comprehensive wireless banking solution with product features such as viewing account balances/history, funds transfer, and view/modify account information. In addition, M-Bank allows users the ability to set account alerts for such items as low account balance and unusual account activity.

“M-Bank is truly a compelling wireless application. This solution allows users to access personal financial data quickly and conveniently,” says Omar Khan, Partner and Co-Chief Executive Officer.

NetPace has developed effective wireless applications to meet the growing technological demands of the market. The company offers wireless services along with other key providers such as Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK – news), Motorola Inc (NYSE:MOT – news), Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY – news), Palm Computing (Nasdaq: PALM – news), and Phone.com (Nasdaq: PHCM – news).

M-Bank is well positioned to serve the Financial Services industry with companies such as Wells Fargo and Co. (NYSE:WFC – news), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC – news), Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE:WM – news), Citibank (NYSE:C – news) and Comerica Inc (NYSE:CMA – news).

About NetPace, Inc.

NetPace, Inc. is a leading provider of Internet with services such as e-strategy consulting, digital media communications, web-enablement, and wireless development. The solutions NetPace provides enables businesses to leverage leading-edge technology to gain sustainable competitive advantages in today’s marketplace. Currently, a privately held organization, NetPace is rapidly expanding with offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. Visit us at [www.netpace.com][2].

[1]: http://wap.netpace.com/
[2]: http://www.netpace.com/

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Delinquency Nudges Up

First quarter 2000 credit card delinquencies, based on total dollars outstanding, reached a five year quarterly low at 3.94%, down from the previous quarter’s 4.28% and down significantly from a five year quarterly high of 5.45% that occurred in the fourth quarter of 1996. The number of credit card bills paid late increased slightly to 3.28% of all accounts, compared to 3.22% in the previous quarter; but down from 3.58% a year earlier. The five-year quarterly high for delinquent credit card accounts also occurred in the fourth quarter of 1996, when the percentage of credit card bills paid late reached 3.72%. The figures were released yesterday by the American Bankers Association. The delinquency trend shown by the ABA tracks with the delinquency trends among card-backed securities and the ‘TrendLine’ calculated by CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

1Q CREDIT CARD DELINQUENCY HISTORY
(based on total dollars outstanding)
1999: 4.44% 1995: 3.50% 1991: 4.55% 1987: 3.71% 1983: 3.06%
1998: 5.42% 1994: 3.51% 1990: 3.29% 1986: 4.92% 1982: 3.33%
1997: 5.43% 1993: 3.98% 1989: 3.39% 1985: 3.10% 1981: 2.16%
1996: 4.62% 1992: 4.31% 1988: 3.71% 1984: 2.84% 1980: 3.38%
Source: American Bankers Association Delinquency Bulletin

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

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Creditrust Bankruptcy

Baltimore, MD-based Creditrust Corp. confirmed yesterday it has filed for a Chapter 11 Reorganization despite a significant positive cash flow. The credit card collection firm, exclusive of the non-filed subsidiaries, has assets of $116,288,000 and liabilities of $27,587,000 as of April 30. Many of Creditrust’s receivables were sold in pools to wholly owned subsidiary limited liability companies. Recently, the insurer of three of the subsidiaries’ notes, Asset Guaranty Insurance Company terminated Creditrust’s servicing rights in two pools representing almost half of the company’s accounts. This sudden loss of almost fifty percent of Creditrust’s servicing inventory prompted an immediate re-evaluation of staff and facility requirements. At year-end 1999, Creditrust managed two million accounts with a charged-off amount of approximately $5 billion. Creditrust’s total revenue for last year was $81 million with a net income of just over $17 million. The company currently has 350 employees. For previous Creditrust developments visit CF Library (2/23/00; 2/29/00; 4/6/00; 4/24/00; and 5/31/00).

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Oasis in Eastern Europe

Oasis Technology Ltd., a leading provider of ePayment software for mobile commerce, the Internet and real world payments, and Enterprise Consulting International, a key supplier of information management systems in the Ukraine, recently signed an agreement in which ECI will distribute Oasis products and solutions in Central and Eastern Europe. In conjunction with this effort to further reinforce Oasis’ position in the European region, the two companies will attend the Banking Systems and Networks Conference in Yalta, Ukraine, exhibiting Oasis’ ePayment software solutions and ECI’s information management systems.

The agreement is designed to help meet the growing market demand for Internet payment processing from dot-com companies, e-tailers, retailers, financial institutions and third-party processors in the European region. Currently available in more than 70 countries around the world, Oasis ePayment products already have a strong foothold in the European marketplace. With this new agreement, Oasis and ECI will benefit from the explosive eCommerce growth in this region, revolutionizing the processing landscape in the Internet and mobile payments markets.

European eCommerce is expected to grow over 100 per cent through 2003, to top USD 1.5 trillion, according to a recent report by Forrester Research. Similarly, Europe is leading the U.S. in the wireless Internet market.

“Our new partnership with ECI will allow Oasis to build on the already strong ePayment industry infrastructure we have implemented in the Eastern and Central European regions,” said Ashraf Dimitri, president and CEO of Oasis. “Together ECI and Oasis will utilize the tremendous opportunities available in the rapidly growing eCommerce and mobile commerce marketplace to enable clients to deploy payment systems that process transactions in a fast, secure and reliable real-time environment.”

“Oasis ePayment technology has a long history of enabling high-performance ePayment systems all over the world,” said Ivan Zinchenko, ECI Chairman of the Board. “This strategic distribution agreement will allow a new generation of global mCommerce and Internet customers in Central and Eastern Europe to accelerate business growth and reduce the costs associated with deploying and maintaining their ePayment systems and delivery channels. Oasis and ECI bring together proven expertise that gives businesses in the region a first-mover advantage and accelerates their time-to-market with global ePayment solutions.”

ECI and Oasis will also attend the annual Banking Systems and Networks Conference, which brings together banking officials and technology developers to strengthen relationships by sharing leading-edge industry information. During the conference, scheduled from June 18 – 24 in Yalta, Ukraine, Andrey Lyubimov, e-business technology consultant of ECI, will speak about Internet Banking solutions. ECI and Oasis are also exhibiting at the show (booth 24) and will demonstrate Oasis Internet Banking, Oasis iCard, and Oasis Internet Payments software solutions.

About Oasis Technology Ltd.

Oasis Technology Ltd. delivers leading mCommerce, Internet and real-world ePayment software products to Internet and traditional banks, e-tailers, retailers, and processors in more than 70 countries worldwide. Today, Internet payment systems powered by Oasis software process more than four billion transactions annually. Oasis Internet payment software products are designed for end-to-end payment processing throughout the entire payment lifecycle, bridging the virtual and real worlds of electronic payments. The company’s international client base includes ABN Amro, American Express, The Bank of Montreal, Citibank, Credicard/Redecard Brazil, Diners, Europay, Golden Card (China), MasterCard and Visa International. With corporate headquarters located in Toronto, Canada, the company also operates offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Miami, Florida and San Jose, California, and supports an extensive network of international distributors and sales representatives. Oasis is ISO 9001 registered. Visit Oasis online at [www.oasis-technology.com][1].

About Enterprise Consulting International (ECI) Since 1995, ECI has been providing consulting, development and implementation services for IT solutions throughout the Ukraine. ECI’s primary business objective is to deliver custom IT solutions that cover a broad range of business needs. ECI has four subsidiaries: “Inmers,” delivering corporate networking solutions (Internet, Intranet , Extranet); “SQL-Solutions” – data management and business intelligence solutions; “ETS” – eCommerce solutions; and “ECI-Ukraine” – ERP-systems consulting and implementation. ECI representatives are highly skilled and dedicated people who have implemented IT projects for Ukrainian State Committee on Statistics, National Bank of Ukraine, Prominvest Bank, First Ukrainian International Bank, Privat Bank, and “Sirena-2,” an Internet based modernization of the air tickets booking system. ECI’s main office is located in Kyiv, Ukraine.

[1]: http://www.oasis-technology.com/

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Discover 2Q/00

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter reported yesterday that its Discover credit card division exceeded expectations for the second fiscal quarter ending May 31. Discover’s card receivables posted a strong gain while cardholder and merchant fee income increased significantly. On top of rising card revenues, was a sharp decline in chargeoffs and delinquency. Managed consumer loans rose to a $43.7 billion, an increase of 33% from a year ago. Merchant and cardholder fees increased 20% over the past twelve months to $591 million. Transaction volume increased 34% to $21.9 billion for the second quarter. Meanwhile net charge-offs declined to 4.21%, the lowest level in almost five years and 134 basis points below last year’s second quarter 5.55%. The over-30-day delinquency rate was 5.11%, compared to 5.94% a year ago. However the yield on consumer loans declined 70 basis points from last year’s second quarter but increased 34 basis points from this year’s first quarter. The increase in yield reflects a pricing increase implemented during the second quarter. For complete current details on Discover’s 2Q/00 results as well as historical data, please visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

DISCOVER PORTFOLIO SNAPSHOT
1Q/00* 2Q/00*
Receivables: $42.0b $43.7b
Volume: $23.5b $45.4b
Accounts: 39.2m 40.4m
Actives: 22.8m 23.1m
Chargeoffs: 4.66% 4.43%
Delinquency: 5.57% 5.11%
Yield: 13.35% 13.52%

*1Q/00 fiscal quarter ended 2/29/00; 2Q/00 fiscal quarter ended 5/31/00. Source: CardData ([www.carddata.com][2])

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

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AmEx Super Platinum

American Express yesterday unveiled the American Express ‘Investment Management Account Platinum Card’. AmEx customers with a combined minimum balance of $100,000 in their AmEx Brokerage and/or American Express Centurion Bank accounts are eligible for the new card program. Amex is discounting its $300 Platinum Card annual fee to $225 annually for ‘IMA Platinum’ cardholders. Under the new program all card purchases and cash withdrawals will be directly debited from the customer’s Investment Management Account. A Gold card version is also available for customers with a combined minimum balance of $25,000 in their American Express Brokerage and/or American Express Centurion Bank accounts. The $75 Gold card annual fee is totally waived.

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Experian Europe

Companies looking to grow their credit business in Europe’s leading consumer markets will soon be able to use Experian as a single-source provider of credit bureau information, marketing services and back office support, account acquisition, account processing and customer management solutions.

The announcement follows a major Europe-wide investment in people, systems and technology by Experian, the global information solutions company. This investment will place Experian in the unique position as the only cross-border credit processor offering a combination of credit bureau and account acquisition solutions in major consumer markets in Europe, including the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Holland and France.

Experian’s integrated credit solution has now been implemented in the UK and a roll- out plan for implementation in Spain is now ready. Solution templates for France and Germany are to be completed by the third quarter of 2000, and an Italian solution template will be finished by the end of the year.

A fundamental part of Experian’s integrated solution has been its investment in a Global Enterprise Management System (GEMS). GEMS is Experian’s new account processing platform that has been integrated into the company’s range of information products and services. Experian has invested some 10 million in GEMS including the development of full Pan-European multi-lingual support through the latest Browser User Interface (BUI) technology.

GEMS offers a stand alone, rapid processing solution for new market entrants and companies looking to upgrade their existing account management capabilities. Experian’s risk management products and services are also fully compatible with alternative processing platforms and can be integrated into existing systems.

Jayne Barber of Experian commented: “The rapid growth of consumer credit in major European markets has necessitated the emergence of more complex revolving credit services along with a need for more flexible Pan-European processing systems.”

“The Internet is also levelling out cross border differences and has created demand for seamless risk management solutions. Experian will be the only company in the market able to provide a combined integrated offering that meets the needs of any company looking to exploit the potential of the Pan-European credit market.”

“With 3000 staff located in offices throughout continental Europe, and a further 3000 people in the UK, Experian will soon be in a position to offer its clients end-to-end account acquisition and management solutions for the entire customer lifecycle – including marketing support, account processing, risk management, database management and customer relationship services.”

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