ACS Moves SPS Headquarters

Associates Commerce Solutions (ACS), a subsidiary of Associates First Capital Corporation, Monday dedicated its new headquarters in Deerfield, IL. More than 350 employees will occupy the 125,000 square foot facility. The grand opening also marked the company’s official name change from SPS Payment Systems to Associates Commerce Solutions. The company moved from Riverwoods, Ill.

“We are pleased so many distinguished community leaders could join us for our grand opening. This new facility represents the strong growth potential for Associates Commerce Solutions,” said Joseph N. Scarpinato, senior executive vice president, Credit Card Operations, Associates First Capital Corporation.

As a living symbol of ACS’ commitment to its new community, a mature tree was donated to support Deerfield’s efforts to revitalize downtown.

Associates Commerce Solutions is a leading provider of consumer private label credit card programs and technology-based commerce solutions. Its clients include Gateway Computer, Goodyear, Helzberg Diamonds, Office Depot, Office Max, Radio Shack, Staples and Value America. It has operations centers in Asheville, N.C.; Gray, Tenn.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Layton, Utah. ACS employs approximately 4,200 individuals throughout these locations.

Dignitaries who participated in the dedication and grand opening ceremony included Illinois State Senator Terry Link; Derek Ragona, trustee, Village of Deerfield; Pam McDonough, director, Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs; Vicki Case, president, Deerfield Chamber of Commerce; Jerry O’Mally, managing director, CarrAmerica; Joe Scarpinato, senior executive vice president, Credit Card Operations, Associates First Capital Corporation; and Dick Robinson, president, Associates Commerce Solutions. ACS employees also joined in the ceremonies.

Associates First Capital Corporation, established in 1918, is a leading diversified finance company providing consumer and commercial finance, leasing, insurance and related services worldwide. The Associates has operations in the United States and 13 international markets. Headquartered in Dallas, it is one of the nation’s 100 largest companies, based on total market capitalization. For more information, visit The Associates Web site at [http://www.theassociates.com][1].

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

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Nordstrom G-Card

Nordstrom will launch a new gift card this week. The new gift cards, available Oct. 1 will also offer a special holiday design, available Nov 10. Customers may purchase cards for a minimum of $10 up to any amount under $1,000 or add value to an existing card at any on-line register on the sales floor and at the ‘Nordstrom Rack’. Gift cards over $1,000 may be purchased in person at the customer service department in any Nordstrom store. Customers may also choose to consolidate the value of several different cards onto a single gift card.

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FlexPass

Motorola unveiled its new line of ‘FlexPass’ intelligent access solutions for contactless smart cards this morning. Four key elements that encompass Motorola’s ‘FlexPass’ intelligent access control solution, include: uniform modules; a range of cover designs; easily customized readers; and simple installation. The uniform RFID modules offers short-range (5″), medium-range (12″) and long-range (28″). Motorola’s new cover designs enables customers to choose covers to match previously installed Motorola readers or select elegant new covers to address multiple exterior and interior aesthetics. Motorola’s ‘FlexPass’ readers can be easily formatted in the field using the desired set of new ‘FlexPass Option Cards’ which represent a unique feature such as audio, visual indicator, bit lengths and output formats. All readers include standard three-meter cables, and the ‘FlexPass’ intelligent access control solution offers multiple mounting options, including slim, wall switch, mid-range and exterior parking.

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Banner Ads

The First USA/Microsoft banner ad featuring the Kasparov chess game continued to rank among the top ten banner ads last week, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Based on market reach, the FUSA/MS chess ad ranked #4 with a 4.3% market reach for the week of Sept. 13-19. Providian’s GetSmart banner ad for second mortgages landed in the #10 spot with 3.8% market reach. The research firm says the average click rate for top banner ads last week was 0.41%.

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[1]: /graphic/getsmart/getsmartbanner.gif

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YourAccounts.com

Output Technology Solutions, the leading provider of bill and statement processing solutions, announced this morning the formation of YourAccounts.Com, a new division focused exclusively on recurring customer interactions via the Internet, including electronic bill presentment and payment and statement presentment. YourAccounts.Com today also debuted with two new product families — e.bill.anywhere — for delivering electronic bill presentment and payment solutions for the financial services, communications, cable TV and utilities industries — and Informa — for delivering e-statements and other electronic communications to mutual fund and brokerage investors.

YourAccounts.Com makes its debut as a division of Output Technology Solutions, the leading processor of bill, statement and related customer communications. The division already has fully operational electronic billing deployments underway at major customer sites including Cellular One of San Francisco, MCI WorldCom, Pepco and Time Warner. The division has the charter to pursue new alliances and customers and develop technology solutions, but will also leverage OTS’s 30 years of bill and statement processing experience and its existing customer base, automatically giving it the potential to reach more than 50 percent of US households. John Korvin, an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience at Xerox and Computer Sciences Corporation, has been named president of the new division.

“Our mission at YourAccounts.Com is to enhance customer communications via the Internet,” said Korvin. “Our unmatched expertise in billing and statement processes, combined with our Internet experience implementing systems for major customers, enables us to offer a unique solution. As the Web becomes the de facto standard for billing, statements and interacting with customers, we believe we will play a leadership role.”

New Division Targets Growing Market

The electronic bill and statement market is growing very rapidly according to The Yankee Group, which estimates the e-bill market alone will grow from 1.6 million households using Internet billing in 1999, to an estimated 10.8 million households by 2003.

“To be a winner in this space it is critical that vendors demonstrate the ability to handle, format and route tremendous amounts of data to wherever the customer wants to see their bills and statements” said Paul Hughes, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group. “Leveraging Output Technology’s 30 plus years of bill and statement processing experience and world class data centers, YourAccounts.Com has the capability to meet the rapidly expanding requirements for electronic bill and statement presentment.”

e.bill.anywhere Product Family

YourAccounts.Com’s family of billing products, e.bill.anywhere, focuses on electronic bill presentment and payment, giving billers the ability to meet the demands of the consumer for EBPP, while leveraging the communication and marketing opportunities of the Internet. Taking a unique approach to the market, YourAccounts.Com plays the role of independent agent, not only processing data but also representing the biller’s interests with key consolidators and portals. This approach enables billers to interact with customers via the Internet anywhere, anytime … today, tomorrow and in the future using any one of several emerging billing models.

“MCI WorldCom is committed to providing several high-quality EBPP options to our customers through our Online Account Manager,” said Kathleen Rumfola, director of online marketing at MCI WorldCom. “Today’s announcement is another step toward our goal of ensuring that our customers can pay their MCI WorldCom bill electronically through whatever e-bill provider best suits their individual needs.”

The e.bill.anywhere product consists of three fully-hosted bill payment and presentment products — anywhere.direct, anywhere.consolidator and anywhere.B2B — that will eliminate complexity, offer a single point of contact for all billing models and guarantee reliability handling large-scale billing processes:

— anywhere.direct — Enables billers to present bills to consumers and accept payments from their own Web site using YourAccounts.Com’s hosting services.

— anywhere.consolidator — Provides all the features of anywhere.direct plus secure routing and transmission to multiple consolidators, currently supporting Bank of America, CheckFree and Transpoint.

— anywhere.B2B — Provides secure Web-based access to billing information for large account customers.

Major customers that are already deploying the e.bill.anywhere solution include Cellular One of San Francisco, MCI WorldCom, Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco) and TimeWarner.

Informa Product Family

In addition to the EBPP solution, YoursAccounts.Com also today announced Informa, a suite of hosted products for the development, production and Internet delivery of account statements and other recurring investor communications. Informa combines YourAccounts.Com’s innovative Internet technologies with its proven core competencies in managing and processing customer data to produce customized communications in high volume. The results are personalized investor statements and other personalized communications that help mutual fund and brokerage companies build better relationships with their customers. The three components of the family are:

— Informa Investor — For electronic presentment of statements, trading confirmations and tax forms which are personalized to each investor and which act as a gateway to a fund or broker web site.

— Informa Broker — Provides electronic presentment of investor documents to brokers, tailored to the specific client-management needs of financial intermediaries.

— Informa Compliance — Offers a low-cost, efficient method of presenting SEC compliance materials to investors via the Internet.

Product Availability

The e.bill.anywhere product line is available today. Informa Investor is scheduled for availability in Q1 of next year, with additional Informa products available later in 2000.

About YourAccounts.Com

YourAccounts.Com(SM) is a division of Output Technology Solutions, the leading provider of paper and electronic statements and other documents to companies who value customer communication and customer service. YourAccounts.Com is focused exclusively on Internet bills, statements and related recurring customer communications. YourAccounts.Com and its parent company serve companies in a range of market segments, including communications, video services, mutual fund, brokerage, banking, insurance and other industries. YourAccounts.Com and its parent company have long-term relationships with 300 major customers, such as Cellular One of San Francisco, MCI WorldCom and Pepco. More information can be found at [http://www.youraccounts.com][1].

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

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Teaser Battle

While First USA has quickly abandoned the fixed 9.99% APR credit card offer over profitability issues, the nation’s second largest issuer is still a player in this year’s pre-holiday marketing battle with a rejuvenated teaser rate solicitation. According to CardWatch ([www.cardwatch.com][1]), First USA is hitting mailboxes across the country this week with a fixed 1.9% intro rate until the first day of the billing cycle that includes March 1, 2000. The latest First USA solicitation offers a go-to APR of 11.65% (Prime +3.9%, 11.65% min) for purchases and balance transfers. However, the new rate structure comes with three major hitches: the two-cycle average daily balance (including new purchases) method of calculating interest , a 3% balance transfer fee (with a $5 minimum and $45 maximum fee) and the requirement that you must transfer a balance to activate the 1.9% interest rate for purchases. The issuer is also zapping cash advances with a 3% fee, a 19.99% (Prime +11.49%) APR, and no grace period. ATM cash advances are subject to a $10 minimum while other cash advances are subject to a $15 minimum cash advance fee. First USA’s punitive interest rate remains at Prime +14.49% with a 22.99% minimum. Meanwhile, Citibank has continued its fall drive with a 2.9% intro rate (until March, 2000) for balance transfers. The nation’s number one issuer is offering a go-to APR of Prime +1.99% or 9.99%. Citibank does not charge a balance transfer fee.

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

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Bizzed.com

Citigroup launched this morning a small business enterprise portal named Bizzed.com. The new web site is designed for entrepreneurs and small businesses of 100 employees or fewer, helping them to define and attain their own success by putting big business resources at their disposal. Bizzed.com provides, capabilities, connections and integrated business services to meet a full range of everyday needs and long-term opportunities. e-Citi designed Bizzed.com to provide a full range of support including e-commerce capabilities, payroll and electronic banking, credit card processing, postal services, financial services like insurance and retirement plans, marketing and advertising support, and the procurement of a whole range of business services at big business discounts.

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eCredit.com

eCredit.com and Fair, Isaac announced this morning an alliance to integrate Fair, Isaac’s ‘CrediTable’ and ‘Small Business Scoring Service’ scoring models with eCredit.com’s web-enabled suite of enterprise credit management and real-time financing solutions. The integration of these offerings means organizations in a variety of industries can use eCredit.com’s software products to implement business-to-business processes that leverage the power and flexibility of Fair, Isaac’s ‘CrediTable’ and ‘SBSS’ scoring models. In conjunction with eCredit.com, the Fair, Isaac products offer customers the flexibility to incorporate empirically derived, pooled-data models during the credit approval process. As a result, complex credit decisions that once took anywhere from several hours to several days to complete can now be performed in less than one minute with the integrated solution from eCredit.com and Fair, Isaac.

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SCF Direction

The Smart Card Forum announced Friday that its strategic direction for the year 2000 will include a new work group focused on the application of smart cards, public key infrastructure, digital certificates, digital signatures, and other ID and authentication related technologies. The SCF says it envisions authentication and ID requirements for electronic commerce will be strong drivers to the use of smart cards. The first meeting of the ID and Authentication Work Group will be at the forum’s fall quarterly meeting, to be held in Tempe, AZ from Nov 8-11. Entitled “ID and Authentication 2000,” the meeting includes educational sessions and talks from industry leaders, along with the first work group session.

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Priceless Golf Moment

Capturing all the excitement and tension of Ryder Cup competition, the decisive match between Germany’s Bernhard Langer and America’s Hale Irwin, which went down to a putt on the final hole of the 1991 event at Kiawah Island, S.C., was selected as MasterCard’s “Priceless” Moment in Ryder Cup History by a panel of golf media nationwide.

With the outcome of the Ryder Cup still in doubt, Irwin hit his approach to the final green wide to the right. The American chipped, then putted to within one foot. After conceding Irwin’s bogey putt, Langer sent his 45-footer six feet past the hole, setting up a dramatic final par putt, which he missed, halving the match and returning the Ryder Cup to the U.S. (14.5 – 13.5) for the first time since 1985.

Jack Nicklaus’ classic display of sportsmanship, conceding Tony Jacklin’s two-foot putt at the 18th hole at Royal Birkdale in 1969 finished second in the Priceless Moment voting, followed by Sam Torrance’s dramatic 18-foot birdie at the Belfry in 1985 to end Europe’s 28-year Ryder Cup drought.

MasterCard, an official sponsor of the PGA Tour and PGA of America, asked golf journalists nationwide to select their top three moments. Points were awarded on a 5-3-1 basis. The 1991 Langer-Irwin battle received 54% of the vote. Nicklaus’ moment was next with 37%, followed by Torrance’s birdie at 35%.

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Canopy Content

Home Account unveiled Canopy Central last week, a brandable, web-based finance channel that allows any financial services company to deliver financial services, news feeds, weather, financial market data and other customized, value-added content and services through a single location on the web. The first release of Canopy Central, which is fully brandable for any institution, offers robust transactional Internet banking services through Home Account’s popular Canopy service platform. It also provides the services and content offered by most sophisticated Internet portals, including integrated weather information, financial calculators, news feeds, market data, stock quotes, and stock portfolio tracking.

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BofA & Billserv

Bank of America announced this morning it has reached an agreement with billserv.com, Inc. for electronic bill presentment and payment services. billserv.com’s biller customers now have the ability to securely present bills to Internet online banking customers at Bank of America’s web site. The bank currently has more than 1.6 million online banking customers. Since late March, the Bank of America bill presentment feature has allowed participating customers in California to receive and pay bills electronically. Billers, such as Sallie Mae, rely on billserv.com to create and deliver electronic bills on their behalf.

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