eBillit Inc

Integretel, Inc. announced the formation of a new subsidiary, eBillit, Inc. The new Internet company will exclusively offer Integretel’s proprietary billing and collection capabilities designed specifically for providers of Internet access, Internet telephony, eCommerce, and enhanced Internet services.

eBillit is positioned at the forefront of this new arena with a suite of innovative service solutions tailor-made for Internet providers. eBillit’s proprietary Internet billing applications, coupled with Integretel’s proven service bureau expertise, empowers providers with alternate payment options on a complete outsource basis.

“The demand from Internet providers for our PhoneBill, DirectBill, and WebBill services is substantial and deserves eBillit’s dedicated focus,” said Joe Lynam, CEO of Integretel. “Best of all, with eBillit, providers can quickly deploy comprehensive billing solutions with minimal, if any, development work.”

With the ability to bill on the consumer’s phone bill in greater than 90% of the households in the U.S. and Canada, eBillit provides a compelling alternative to credit cards and electronic funds transfer. Providers will be pleased to know eBillit can bill a wide variety of services and content using the three billing methods. Examples include everything from music downloads, to monthly CLEC charges, Internet access, voice, video and data billed online via the Web, direct, or on the consumer’s phone bill.

About eBillit

eBillit Corporation is positioned to be the leading outsourced billing and collection ASP for the providers of Internet access, Internet telephony, eCommerce and enhanced Internet services. The company offers a suite of next generation billing services and surrounding support services including AR financing, online reporting, real-time fraud control, customer care inquiry and collection capabilities. eBillit is headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley and will serve clientele worldwide.

About Integretel

Integretel provides industry leading outsourced billing services to the telecommunication, Internet, wireless, and utility markets. Founded in 1988, the company created one of the industry’s first service bureaus offering complete Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) billing and collection services. Integretel’s billing and collection agreements cover every major ILEC and over 1,400 smaller independent phone companies. Integretel is located San Jose, California.



First Ecom.com , a global provider of electronic payment processing systems, announced that it has received approval from NASDAQ for a National Market System Listing of its common stock.

First Ecom expects its common stock to begin trading on June 6 under an unchanged ticker symbol, “FECC.”

“We’re delighted to announce our full national market listing,” said Gregory Pek, president and CEO of First Ecom.com. “This will bring greater visibility to our stock and allow us to respond to the growing amount of institutional interest we have been receiving.”

“First Ecom began operations in February 1999 and to has received full NASDAQ listing only 16 months later is a significant accomplishment,” added Pek. “This is an exciting time for First Ecom and I want to thank my management team and all our employees for their extraordinary efforts over the past year.”

About First Ecom.com

As a global provider of electronic payment processing, First Ecom.com provides secure, easy-to-implement and low-cost online payment processing services to banks and their merchants worldwide. Through strategic partnerships with banks, ISPs, e-commerce product suppliers, system integrators and storefront solution providers, First Ecom.com will process credit card transactions made over the Internet in multiple currencies, either domestically or offshore in a tax-neutral jurisdiction.


Providian Online Record

Providian Financial has reached the $1 billion mark in Internet-sourced deposits. This milestone is a reflection of both the Company’s growing popularity among consumers shopping for the most competitive Certificate of Deposit and Money Market Demand Account products, and its success in delivering a superior customer experience online.

A key element of Providian’s success in attracting deposits online is the state-of-the-art Web site at [http://www.providian.com][1]. Customer-focused design and the latest technology come together to make opening and managing an account simple and fast. In fact, Providian is one of the few companies that allows customers to open an account, authorize funds to be transferred to a CD or an MMDA, and renew an account, all online.

“We are very pleased with how highly our customers regard Providian’s Internet-based deposit products and service,” said Jody Bhagat, senior vice president of e-commerce for Providian. “Our strength in key areas that influence customer decision-making regarding deposit products positions us for continued success. We will maintain our leading online presence by continuing to innovate and offer high-yield products that attract customers looking for a safe way to get a high-rate return.”

“The robust growth in Internet-sourced deposits reflects Providian’s commitment to e-commerce and is helping us build a strong Web-based consumer franchise,” said Jim Rowe, executive vice president and head of e-commerce for Providian. “The numbers indicate that a business strategy based on providing high-value and exceptional customer service can be just as successful online as offline.”

San Francisco-based Providian Financial Corporation ([http://www.providian.com][2]) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers throughout the United States and also offers credit cards in the United Kingdom. The sixth largest bankcard issuer in the U.S., Providian Financial was recently named one of America’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune magazine, and the nation’s top financial institution by US Banker magazine.

Providian serves a broad, diversified market with loan products including credit cards, secured cards, certificates of deposit and membership products. With a commitment to 100% customer satisfaction, Providian helps customers build or rebuild, protect and responsibly use credit. Providian has more than $27 billion in assets under management and over 13 million customers.

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


VISA Certificates

VISA International has selected Dublin, Ireland-based Baltimore Technologies’ secure web access solution to provide the infrastructure necessary to secure, protect and authenticate online payment transactions for member banks, their customers, and online merchants worldwide. This Baltimore secure web access solution enables VISA to operate its own digital certificate management system and issue VISA-branded digital certificates. VISA said this morning that validating a digital certificate is the electronic equivalent of a consumer looking for the VISA acceptance flag in a merchant’s store window, or a merchant checking the consumer’s signature on the back of a VISA card.


Mag-Teck ACE

Mag-Tek Inc., an internationally known check reader and card reader manufacturer since 1972, recently secured a contract with ACE Cash Express Inc., with headquarters in Irving, Texas, for the integration of 1,600 IntelliPIN PINpad units in all company-owned locations.

Founded in 1968, ACE Cash Express, the largest owner, operator and franchiser of check-cashing stores in the United States, presently has 885 company-owned retail locations and 159 franchised stores in 32 states offering a broad range of financial and check-cashing services.

ACE is also one of the largest agents of MoneyGram wire transfer transactions, and provides money orders, small consumer loans, bill payment services and prepaid local and long-distance telecommunication services.

ACE will utilize the Mag-Tek IntelliPIN, a combination PINpad and triple-track magnetic stripe card reader, to provide immediate and secure PIN selection and validation. This technology will serve as a platform for providing an array of electronic financial transactions for ACE customers.

The magnetic stripe of driver’s licenses can also be read with the IntelliPIN’s triple-track card reader. The IntelliPIN can also be used for PIN validation at POS locations. Account information can be automatically retrieved for viewing, and transactions can be processed with the IntelliPIN.

For customer identification and verification, ACE also issues an ACE Plus Gold card. For this application, ACE is presently utilizing two models of Mag-Tek’s MICR check reader with card reader for identifying customers by swiping the ACE Plus Gold card through the card reader and verifying checks with the MICR check reader. Mag-Tek ([www.magtek.com][1]) manufactures an ever-expanding line of magnetic stripe and smart card readers, encoders, motorized readers and MICR check readers for financial institutions, retailers and OEMs. Mag-Tek also offers comprehensive solutions for customer-selected PINs and ATM card activation.

Mag-Tek has headquarters in Carson, with sales offices throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, along with international distribution networks in more than 40 countries.

Mag-Tek technology is used in millions of financial and point-of- sale (POS) transactions utilizing debit cards, credit cards and checks, at banks and other financial businesses, retail checkouts, automated gas pumps, kiosks, pay phones and airplane seat phones throughout the world. For more information on the IntelliPIN or other Mag-Tek products, call 888/624-8350 or visit [www.magtek.com][2].

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


May Sales

May same-store retail sales rose 4.0% over the same period last year, despite one less shopping weekend this year and higher interest rates, according to data compiled and released this morning by TeleCheck Services. The Mid-Atlantic region led the nation, followed by the Southwest, the Northeast, the West and Midwest (tied) and the Southeast. The Mid-Atlantic was up 4.3%, with sales rising 5.0% in Maryland, 4.6% in New Jersey, 4.0% in Pennsylvania and 3.6% in Virginia. Sales rose 4.5% in Philadelphia, 4.2% in Baltimore, 3.6% in Pittsburgh and 3.3% in the District of Columbia.


Taking Stock

Metris Companies announced that Ronald Zebeck, its chairman and chief executive officer, has exercised stock options to purchase 1.3 million shares of its common stock. In conjunction with this exercise, Mr. Zebeck has sold 750,000 shares at $38 per share through William Blair & Company, L.L.C. Approximately 90% of the $28.5 million proceeds will be required for tax payments related to the exercise of these options.

Mr. Zebeck is selling these shares pursuant to a selling shareholder prospectus included with an effective registration statement on form S-8 filed May 14, 1998.

After the exercise and sale, Mr. Zebeck will own 828,536 shares of Metris’ common and restricted stock, compared with 266,386 shares he owned as of April 30, 2000.

Metris Companies Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products and enhancement services. Based in St. Louis Park, Minn., Metris also has operations in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Champaign, Ill.; White Marsh, Md.; and Tulsa, Okla. Metris employs more than 3,700 people.


Fire Sale

Bankrate.com owner, ilife.com, Inc., formerly known as Intelligent Life Corp, is trying to unload assets to stay alive. This morning Ilife.com announced it is putting up two of its divisions for sale, namely Consejero.com and Pivot.com. Consejero.com is a Spanish-language personal finance site providing information on investing, banking, credit products and other personal finance topics. (“Consejero” is Spanish for “advisor”.) Pivot.com is a licensed life and property and casualty insurance agency providing B2B Internet fulfillment solutions to insurance companies, banks, large agencies and affinity groups. Last week, ilife.com closed on a deal to sell its college focused web site, CPNet.com, to Colleges.com. In August, 1999, ilife.com acquired Pivot.com for $290,000 cash and a $4,350,000 five-year convertible subordinated note to Midland Life Insurance Company. Last year Pivot.com produced approximately $150,000 in revenues and a net loss of more than $2.1 million. Consejero.com generated slightly more than $8,000 in revenues and a net loss of more than $2.2 million for 1999. After going public one year ago and spending heavily on marketing, ilife.com is expected to deplete its cash by year end. A recent Barron’s commissioned study from Pegasus Research International of 207 Internet-based companies found that ilife.com was the 10th most likely company to run out of funds within the next year. Ilife.com raised $41.3 million in its May 1999 IPO, but produced a net pre-tax loss of $31.5 million last year. The company said this morning it is selling off assets to rebuild a company that leverages the equity of its core brand, which is bankrate.com.


Axiohm Re-Emerges

Transaction printer manufacturer, Axiohm Transaction Solutions, Inc., reported Friday it has successfully emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Last week the firm met all conditions for consummation of its reorganization plan including the closing of a new $85.5 million credit facility, provided by a syndicate of lenders led by Lehman Commercial Paper. The facility includes a $23 million revolving line of credit. The firm now emerges as a private company with majority ownership now held by the holders of the company’s previous $120 million of senior subordinated notes. In related action the company’s new board appointed Marc Pfefferle as the new CEO with Nicolas Dourassoff continuing to serve as president. The firm also announced the hiring of Jack Canty as the new corporate controller. Axiohm announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters from Blue Bell, PA to the company’s existing manufacturing facility in Ithaca, New York.


MC MetroCards

MasterCard and New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority have teamed up to issue one million limited-edition ‘MetroCards’ featuring four New York Mets players. The cards commemorate the ‘2000 Subway Series’ which will be held July 7-9 at Shea Stadium. The stored value cards went on sale last week and will be available through June 20. The ‘MetroCards’ can be purchased either at MetroCard vending machines or online. Consumers who use their MasterCard card to purchase the limited edition ‘MetroCards’ will automatically be entered in a sweepstakes to win a pair of tickets to the Subway Series. The promotion is being supported with an advertising campaign that will include 2,280 subway car premium squares, 4,000 11″ x 28″ bus cards, 800 one-sheet station posters, a tile on the MetroCard.CitySearch.com site, and a page on the MTA website.


GemXpresso Certified

Gemplus, the world’s leading provider of smart card-based solutions has obtained certification from Visa International for GemXpresso 211 – V1′, the first smart card to support Java Card API 2.1 and Open Platform 2.0. A Gemplus smart card platform based on Java Card specification from SUN Microsystems (Virtual Machine 2.1, Java Card API 2.1) and Open Platform 2.0, GemXpresso 211 – V1′ has the exceptional ability to add applications even if the card has already been issued to a cardholder. GemXpresso 211 – V1′ provides full interoperability of both source code & byte code of any applet, thanks to the Java Card 2.1 specification and is based on the Philips Semiconductors’ highly advanced P8WE5032 crypto controller.

Gemplus is a pioneer in developing and launching Open Platform cards: the first GemXpresso was released in 1997 while in June 1998, GemXpresso was the first Open Platform card to be implemented in a real life application in Singapore. Then in March 1999, GemXpresso 210 was the first smart card based upon Open Platform to be approved by Visa. In January 2000, GemXpresso 211 received the first French Common Criteria certification for a Java Card.

GemXpresso 211 – V1′ comes with a portfolio of applets including Visa Smart Debit and Credit payment application and a series of Gemplus applets for authentication and loyalty.

“This approval is recognition of Gemplus’ long-term relationship with Visa International and our involvement in Java” said Sami Baghdadi, vice president for Banking. “With a portfolio of applets and Java Card platforms, consulting and personalization services, Gemplus is the unique smart-card based solutions provider to have a complete value chain around the Visa Open Platform standard.”

“We are delighted to be able to approve this card as the first to support Java Card API 2.1 and version 2.0 of the Open Platform specifications and congratulate Gemplus on their achievement,” said James Lee, senior vice president, Emerging Technologies, Visa International. “As we see more and more countries start to migrate to chip, it is important that we continue to advance the technology and provide solutions which offer full interoperability.”

About Gemplus

Gemplus S.A. ([www.gemplus.com][1]) is the world’s leading provider of plastic and smart card-based solutions (by units sold, source: Dataquest 1998). Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.

With sales of over $US817 million in 1999, Gemplus employs almost 6,300 people in 17 manufacturing facilities, 7 R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in more than 30 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card -based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, physical access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, logical access control and information technology.

About Visa

As the “World’s Best Way to Pay,” Visa is the world’s leading payment brand and the largest payment system worldwide with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 80 smart card programs in 35 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including eight million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction(TM) programs to enable and advance Internet commerce.

There are over 970 million Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cards, which generate more than US$1.5 trillion in annual volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at over 18 million worldwide locations, including at more than 550,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com][2].

[1]: http://www.gemplus.com/
[2]: http://www.visa.com/