Mellon Multi Card

Mellon Global Cash Management yesterday introduced the ‘Mellon Multi Card’, a new corporate MasterCard program that allows companies and government agencies to consolidate individual credit card purchasing, travel, entertainment and fleet expenses into a single card solution. The new card program combines functions of separate credit card programs into a single, multi-purpose card that offers the same level of control, one monthly invoice and single reconciliation process.

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PROCARD Acquired

Equifax announced an agreement to acquire PROCARD, Chile’s second largest credit card processor. Under the agreement, Equifax will acquire PROCARD, which had $6 million in revenues for 1999 and provides account maintenance, authorizations, data capture, transaction processing, bankcard and private-label card issuer posting services. PROCARD also provides application input, embossing, statement and collection letter printing and mailing, co-branding, reward administration and retailer acquirer services.

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OPC Signs MN

Official Payments Corporation announced Wednesday the company has signed an agreement with the State of Minnesota to allow the state’s residents to pay their 1999 balance due, estimated payments, and penalty payments (delinquent) income tax payments by credit card over the Internet or telephone. Official Payments Corp. adds Minnesota to an existing list of clients including the United States Internal Revenue Service, the District of Columbia, and the states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and Oklahoma, for whom they have contracts to process credit card tax payments.

“Our service offers the people of Minnesota a proven, secure, reliable and convenient way to pay taxes, with added benefits from credit card reward programs,” said Thomas R. Evans, Chairman & CEO of Official Payments Corporation.

Minnesota taxpayers will be able to make their balance due, estimated and penalty payments by dialing 1-888-2PAY-TAX.(SM) or by visiting [www.8882paytax.com][1] on the Internet. Information on the new payment options will be included in tax instructions, which are being mailed to consumers by the Minnesota Department of Revenue this month.

“Improvements to Minnesota’s tax system are a key component of Governor Jesse Ventura’s “Big Plan” for making government more user-friendly,” stated Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Matt Smith, “Our partnership with Official Payments Corp. is a great example of the “Service, Not Systems” initiative in Governor Ventura’s Big Plan. In making our tax system more modern, we’re making government simpler for our citizens by taking advantage of state-of-the-art technology which offers taxpayers another payment option. We are proud to be leading the way as one of the first states in the nation to offer this kind of service.”

Official Payments Corp. charges consumers a convenience fee for processing these credit card transactions. The fee schedule can be found at [www.officialpayments.com][2]. For example, a taxpayer who owed the government $900.00 and charged their taxes would find a total of $927.00 on their credit card statement: $900.00 for the tax bill and $27.00 for the convenience fee. American Express, Discover Card and MasterCard are the credit cards accepted by the program. Taxpayers using credit cards with bonus rewards programs can, depending on their card’s program, earn rewards, points, and cash-back or airline frequent flyer miles for paying their taxes.

Last year, 462,000 taxpayers in Minnesota made balance due tax payments with an average payment of $1003.00 to the state treasury representing $464,000,000.00 in total balance due collected. 95,000 taxpayers in Minnesota made Quarterly Estimated tax payments with an average payment of $1400.00 to the state treasury representing $133,000,000.00 in total Estimated payments collected. Finally, the State, as of January 2000, is collecting $164,000,000.00 in past due personal tax payments and other State agency past due debts. There are 111,000 individuals in the State that owe, on average, $1477.00 on Delinquent Tax and Non-Tax items. Taxpayers can now make all of these payments by dialing 1-888-2PAY-TAX.(SM) or by visiting [www.8882paytax.com][3] on the Internet.

About Official Payments Corp.

Official Payments Corp. is a leading provider of electronic payment options to government entities. The company enables consumers to pay government fees and taxes via telephone or the Internet, using their credit cards. The company has partnered with the United States Internal Revenue Service, several state governments, including California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, New Jersey and Oklahoma, Minnesota and over 450 municipal and county entities, in which it collects property taxes, real estate taxes, parking fines and other government fees by credit card over the telephone and the Internet. The company is publicly traded on Nasdaq under the symbol OPAY. Official Payments Corp. is committed to making payments to the government go fast, smart and safe.

[1]: http://www.8882paytax.com/
[2]: http://www.officialpayments.com/
[3]: http://www.8882paytax.com/

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CardVerifyOne

CardVerify announced availability of CardVerifyOne – an enhanced e-commerce credit card transaction and security service.

Recent news of theft of numerous credit card numbers from e-commerce sites confirms the need for CardVerify’s e-commerce approach: Consumers do not store their credit cards on individual e-commerce sites or provide a username/password combination for shopping, but rather use their credit card number every time they perform a purchase online. CardVerifyOne facilitates this process by allowing consumers to associate their cards with shipping information consisting of name and address. Consumers enter only their card details, while CardVerify provides full shipping information to the registered merchant.

Security is provided through CardVerify’s unique transaction model. Data collected by CardVerify is used only to identify the card, associate shipping information, and capture user preferences like adult content blocking. CardVerify stores only “fingerprints” of sensitive data – such as credit card numbers – on its servers; so even CardVerify does not have access to the actual card numbers. Merchants create the card fingerprint before sending it across the Internet, then obtain authorization and shipping information to complete the purchase, but do not need to store credit card information.

“Card numbers should not be stored on any e-commerce server,” said Peter Kostka, CEO of CardVerify. “Nowadays entering and transmitting card information is more secure due to ubiquitous SSL support, but storage will always bear some risks, as we have seen in recent days. Many online retailers, including Amazon.com and eToys, store credit card information to enable ‘one-click’ or ‘express’ shopping. CardVerifyOne allows use of the credit card number for one-stop shopping without usernames and passwords. You have to ask, would you leave your credit card details with every restaurant you go to and use a username/password for future visits?”

With e-commerce increasing, consumers will not be able to choose a favorite username and password combination, requiring consumers to to remember numerous usernames and to associate them with the right retailer. Changing e-mail addresses also prohibit their use as usernames. Credit cards are a natural tool for identification purposes in any online shopping situation.

CardVerify, Inc. develops e-commerce security applications in the area of credit cards.

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Card Stats Stable

Bank credit card charge-offs and delinquency continued their stable course during December among credit card-backed securities. Loss rates of 5.5%, 5.7%, and 5.7%, for the three consecutive months of October, November, and December, represent the lowest back-to-back month reported charge-offs since the early 1990s. According to Standard & Poor’s Credit Card Quality Indexes, the delinquency trend is positive as well. December’s delinquencies dropped 22 bps, to 4.6% from 4.8%. Compared with last year’s numbers, delinquencies improved by 40 bps. S&P also reported yesterday that among the major trusts, there was a significant increase only in the Discover Card Master Trust. Losses for Discover increased by 80 bps during December, to 6.8% from 6.0%. At the other end of the spectrum, Universal Card Services Master Trust and Citibank Master Credit Card Trust had the largest decline in losses. Both trusts reported a drop of 50 bps in losses for the month.

CREDIT CARD QUALITY INDEXES

Performance month Dec 97 Dec 98 Oct 99 Nov 99 Dec 99
Outstandings $248.7b 275.5 300.0 303.8 307.5
Yield 19.6% 19.7 20.0 19.5 19.7
Charge-offs 6.9% 5.9 5.5 5.7 5.7
Weighted base rate 8.1% 7.7 7.7 7.6 8.3
Excess spread 4.6% 6.1 6.8 6.2 5.7
Delinquencies 5.6% 5.0 4.8 4.8 4.6
Payment rate 15.0% 15.9 16.2 16.0 16.8

SOURCE Standard & Poor’s CreditWire

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Sting-in-the-Tail

Introductory interest rates have invaded the UK. However Co-operative Bank says with most card offers in the UK: “the sting-in-the-tail is the much higher standard rate once the introductory period is over”. Co-operative Bank announced it is introducing this week its lowest ever ‘Advantage VISA’ credit card interest rate of 4.9%, fixed until July 2000. The go-to interest rate for both the ‘Advantage VISA’ or ‘Advantage Gold VISA’ is 14.7%. Both cards have no annual fee. The gold card has a minimum credit limit of £3,000.

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NextCard Commissions

NextCard announced yesterday that its affiliate program is a real win-win for the card issuer and for outside promoters. In the first nine months of the program, NextCard paid out more than $1.1 million in commissions to other web sites. NextCard says it currently has 30,000 members in the affiliates program. Under the program, the Internet VISA issuer pays a minimum $20 commission for each approved credit card account delivered by external web sites. Yesterday a Mississippi man said he earned enough commissions since last July to purchase a new Cadillac SUV.

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AmEx Cards Grow

American Express acknowledged yesterday that during 1999 its consumer charge cards-in-force increased for the first time since 1990. Last year AmEx added 2.1 million net new accounts. The new ‘Blue’ card and the co-branded Costco cards contributed to the increase. Meanwhile, AmEx Travel Related Services reported a 15.1% increase in net income for 4Q/99 compared to 4Q/98. The strong earnings were driven in part by merchant fees and cardholder interest charges. Merchant fees for the fourth quarter were $1.9 billion compared to $1.6 billion one year ago. Finance charge revenue grew 22.3% for the 4Q/99 to $802 million compared to $655 million for 4Q/98. However interest expense rose more than 43% over the same period driving down the net growth in interest revenue to a 12.4% annual rate. The average AmEx cardholder charged $2,102 during the fourth quarter compared to $1,861 one year ago. The average merchant fee, excluding alliance partners and independent operators, for 4Q/99, was 2.71%. For complete current and historical statistics for American Express visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

AMEX 1999 U.S. STATS
EOY99 EOY98 CHNG
Card Loans: $23.4b $16.7b +39.8%
Charge Volume: $186.4b $165.6b +12.6%
Cards-in-Force: 29.9m 27.8m + 7.4%
Delinquency*: 2.6% 3.1% NA
Charge-offs: 4.5% 6.2% NA
Interest Yield: 8.6% 9.5% NA

* 30+ days Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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VoIP Phone Cards

Cybertel Communications Corp. announced Monday that it has now added prepaid VoIP phone cards to its line of Internet Telephony-based products and services. Cybertel’s phone cards are priced very aggressively, between 40 and 50 percent less per minute than most phone cards available through traditional phone companies such as AT&T , Qwest , Sprint , IDT Corporation.

Cybertel’s VoIP prepaid phone cards will be made available through the company’s Web site at [http://www.cybertelcorp.com][1] and will also be marketed to the members of organizations participating in Cybertel’s unique Affinity Partnership Program, including the Marine Corps Reserve Officers Association (MCROA) and the 10,000 member Tailhook Association. Cybertel is also researching the market potential for customized prepaid VoIP calling cards for its affinity customers, creating co-branded promotional cards as marketing and advertising incentives for those organizations.

“We are expecting a tremendous reception for our new prepaid VoIP phone cards. Prepaid calling card sales have exploded in the U.S. over the past 5 years to become a $1+ billion industry. Our prepaid VoIP cards route calls over the Internet, making it extremely inexpensive to deliver voice traffic to anywhere in the world. In addition to low rates per minute, our cards don’t have monthly fees or surcharges. Since we have no fees or surcharges, you can start saving money immediately,” says Richard Mangiarelli, president and CEO of Cybertel Communications.

Cybertel is a La Jolla, Calif.-based Voice Over the Internet Telephony (VoIP) company in the process of building a state-of-the-art Internet Telephony network throughout the United States. Cybertel has recently signed contracts with other major carriers like MCI/Worldcom (Nasdaq:WCOM), Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Level 3 Communications, which have made it possible for Cybertel to offer 1+ long distance, 1-800 numbers, regular and pre-paid calling cards and Internet access at some of the most competitive rates on the market today. Cybertel is a fully reporting company, listed on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol OTCBB:CYTP. For more information, please visit .

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

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Relationship Processing

First Data unveiled Monday a new technology that enables card issuers to offer customers the option of linking multiple cardholder accounts from the same household. ‘Relationship Processing’ also gives cardholders the ability to extend a limited line, from the primary cardholder’s umbrella line of credit, to a younger family member. Other features include the option to merge accounts when two individuals marry without having to close either of the accounts and losing the past credit history; the opportunity to add an account number and line of credit to the relationship that the consumer can use solely for Internet shopping, without having to open up a completely new account with a separate credit line; and the ability to control the types of retail establishments as well as set geographical parameters for where their teenagers, for instance, can use their credit cards.

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Internet ATM Launch

CDNet Canada Inc. , Toronto, Ontario, Canada has agreed with the developer of a software application from Hamilton, Ontario to complete the commercial exploitation of this software program and system designed to facilitate the world wide purchase and sale of goods and services over the Internet without the use of credit cards. The market for the service and system are those vendors and purchasers who are unwilling or unable to use credit cards for e-commerce business but are desirous of concluding point of sale transactions without the delay in delivering cash or money orders to vendors before goods are shipped.

The Agreement provides for the formation of a corporation to be known as CDNet Cash Plus Inc. (“Net Cash Plus”) or such similar name. The parties will have equal ownership and equal representation on the Board of Directors of NetCash Plus. No treasury shares are being issued by CDNet as part of the agreement. Pursuant to the Agreement, CDNet will provide initial working capital up to $125,000.00 in the form of a loan, as needed, to test the system with a select group of vendors and purchasers. CDNet will make these funds available from cash flow derived from its ATM business and from private placements of its equity shares. The software developer will contribute the software and system to NetCash Plus and receive $25,000.00 as nominal consideration and will be entitled to purchase 166,666 treasury shares of CDNet at the exercise price of $.15 per share pursuant to its existing stock option plan should the developer become a director of CDNet. CDNet has 5,014,764 restricted voting shares issued and outstanding which trade publicly and 25,000 common shares which do not trade publicly. The Board of Directors of NetCash Plus will determine commercial exploitation of the service after the test. The test service is expected to be launched by February 15, 2000.

The software package was developed over a two year period to fill the need of those parties who were desirous of buying and selling goods and services over the Internet without using credit cards and without the shipping delay caused by the need for delivery of money orders or cash by purchasers. The software application uses the Linux operating system. Separate proprietary programs are downloaded to registered vendors and purchasers. The vendor’s program will allow a linkage to be made between NetCash Plus and the vendor’s web site or e-mail to conclude payment for point of sale transactions; NetCash Plus is offered as an alternate method of payment, confirmation that funds are available from NetCash Plus are given to vendors to facilitate sales and shipping quickly, and transfers of money are made from NetCash plus directly to vendors. The software allows a purchaser to place an order with any registered NetCash Plus vendor and quickly pay for the goods and services through NetCash Plus.

The service will work as follows, Vendors will agree to accept payments for their goods or services from NetCash Plus. Vendor subscribers will pay a fee to receive a software package that will integrate with their web site or attach to their e-mail. On conclusion of a purchase, NetCash Plus will be offered as an additional payment choice. To pay by NetCash Plus, purchasers must have a NetCash Plus Internet Card that can be acquired in various ways in denominations of their choice. Purchasers provide an e-mail address and receive a card registration and pin number. Thereafter all transactions between vendors and purchasers can be concluded quickly and goods can be shipped immediately. NetCash Plus has no knowledge or involvement in any transaction but merely acts as a cash facilitator for vendors and purchasers.

Vendors have no risk as NetCash Plus will provide the necessary immediate financial confirmation to the vendor to confirm the sale or to ship goods or provide services unless the purchaser has sufficient funds available on his NetCash Plus Internet Card. For purchasers of goods and services, NetCash Plus offers the convenience of completing a cash purchase without using a credit card over the Internet or leaving the computer site. For vendors, a reliable, inexpensive, secure and expeditious method of taking money over the Internet is made available without credit card charge-backs or the fraudulent use of credit cards.

ATM Machines

To update the public with respect to the activities of CDNet in the ATM business, the Company wishes to advise as follows. CDNet became an IBM Business Partner in September, 1999. The Company is actively selling and placing ATM’s in Ontario and is promoting the corporate sale of the Siemens Nixdorf ProCash Compact ATM. CDNet terminated all negotiations with ATM North Inc. with respect to the forming of a partnership to carry on any business related to automatic banking machines. CDNet did not conclude any partnership arrangement with this company which had wrongly represented itself to CDNet as an affiliated IBM Business Partner at the time negotiations between the companies were commenced in the spring of 1999. This news release has neither been approved nor disapproved by the Canadian Dealing Network or any other regulatory authority.

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Mambo.com Event Ticketing

Mambo.com, the leading online invitations and group payment service, unveiled the Mambo.com Payment Service, a ground-breaking online commerce capability that lets users sell tickets, pay expenses or collect money for all types of activities and events.

Intersecting community and commerce, the Mambo.com Payment Service transforms the way people conduct monetary transactions with each other over the Internet. This new service is a natural extension of commerce into the online invitation space and bridges online convenience with real-world rewards.

“The Mambo.com Payment Service offers a new form of commerce for our users around group activities and events. By offering these capabilities, Mambo.com is taking a leadership role in the category of online invitation and group payment services,” said Madeline Schroeder, CEO of Mambo.com. “Within minutes, our customers facilitate credit card transactions over the Web, so they can collect the money they need to coordinate every kind of gathering. Together with our unique offering of more than 200 invitation designs and our user friendly site implementation we are creating the best user experience for both guests and hosts alike.”

Mambo.com recognized early that all types of forums exist in which people need to exchange money with each other, but no service today offers an easy-to-use solution for facilitating economic interactions surrounding planning and coordinating activities and events. For the first time in the online event planning space, Mambo.com makes it convenient for hosts and guests to plan weekend ski getaways, collect membership dues for alumni organizations, share expenses for group gifts and purchase tickets for fundraising events. With the Mambo.com Payment Service, hosts no longer will struggle to collect money from their harried friends and co-workers, and guests will be able to easily pay for activities without having to carry their checkbook.

Getting Started with the Mambo.com Payment Service

Anyone planning any type of activity or event can choose an online invitation design that reflects the exact personality and tone of their gathering from Mambo.com’s selection of over 200 designs. In just one click, hosts can create a personalized online invitation, a ‘Mambo,’ and can choose to add specific features, including payment capabilities and maps and directions. After sending the Mambo to their guests, hosts can keep track of RSVPs with the Mambo Messenger, coordinate logistics with the message board and collect payments through the Mambo.com Payment Service.

Guests receive a truly personalized and compelling invitation that allows them to respond with one click and provides them with all the information they need to attend the activity or event. In addition, with the new Mambo.com Payment Service, they can pay whatever fees or expenses are associated with a gathering, like chipping in for a friend’s birthday present before a surprise party.

By offering a way to safely and easily exchange money between a group of people, Mambo.com presents the best, most complete online offering for users to coordinate all facets of their real-world activities and events. With the Mambo.com Payment Service, the company brings together cutting-edge, user-friendly features with integrated person-to-person commerce capabilities to offer a full-service solution that helps people get together for real-world activities and events while transforming the way they interact with each other online.

About Mambo.com

Mambo.com is the leading online invitation and group payment service that offers the broadest range of activities and events. Founded in 1999, Mambo.com brings people together for everyday activities, parties and events, utilizing the Web to build communities and commerce opportunities around these social gatherings. With venture capital funding from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and angel investors, Mambo.com is well-capitalized, strongly supported by its partners and positioned for long-term growth and success. Mambo.com is a privately held company located in Menlo Park, California. For more information about Mambo.com or to use its services to plan and promote a social gathering, visit the company on the Web at [http://www.mambo.com][1].

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

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