Web Access Cards

MetroPlus Communications Technology, Inc., a division of NP Energy Corporation , is pleased to announce the signing of a marketing agreement with The Ultimate Cigar Company.

Ultimate announced today the launching of its Web Access Card program for the United States and Canada. Web Access Cards are a direct marketing tool distributed through convenience stores. It allows Internet based companies to market in the real world in a measurable and cost-effective manner. Customers purchase the Web Access Card and register for fulfillment on the Internet through a Web site called Red Hot Access.com. After registering the customer is hyperlinked to the participating Internet company’s Web site. Offers can be price discounts, savings or special access to selected areas of a Web site.

MetroPlus, based in Vancouver, BC, is building its own marketing and licensing system for phone-to-phone Internet Telephony. Internet Telephony uses the Internet to send audio between two telephones in real time. MetroPlus has signed a Letter of Intent for a sixteen-city network with IPVoice.com (OTC:BB:IPVC), a developer and producer of unique proprietary state of the art software and hardware solution for use in IP Telephony. IPVoice.com’s premier product is an Internet Gateway named “TrueConnect(TM)”, a fully Y2K compliant gateway that allows users to conduct real time full duplex, high quality two-way voice communication over the Internet.

Using the IPVoice.com system, MetroPlus will be able to generate its own prepaid Internet Telephony phone card. Marketing and distribution of the phone card is critical to the Company. The Web Access Card program has the potential to reach thousands of convenience stores through distribution with Ultimate and its partners. Ultimate is underway with marketing the program to convenience store chains in the United States and Canada.

MetroPlus will have the opportunity to market Internet Telephony to 30 major markets across the United States and Canada. MetroPlus will begin marketing in the cities as soon as a final agreement is reached with IPVoice.com and the 30 gateways in place.

“In developing our Internet Telephony strategy, we felt two aspects were very critical to its success. First, we needed to partner with a company providing superior technology. IPVoice.com is that company. Secondly, we needed to have a marketing plan that was measurable and effective. We feel the Web Access Card program has the potential to be a huge success in the market place. We wanted to get our marketing plan together and feel we can offer a viable program,” said Mark Jensen, Marketing Director for MetroPlus.

MetroPlus has a Letter of Intent with IPVoice.com to be a TruePartner Master Distributor, a license program for operating Internet gateways through IPVoice.com. MetroPlus is granted exclusive territories in Canada, Washington and Oregon. There are 16 primary cities involved in the agreement. MetroPlus will have active gateways in the next twelve months in Canada in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. In Washington State, MetroPlus will operate gateways in Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, the Tri Cities and Vancouver. In Oregon, the company will be in Albany, Beaverton, Eugene and Portland.

Signing of the final agreement between MetroPlus and IPVoice.com will take place in June.

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elcom.com Integrate MasterCard

elcom.com, inc., and MasterCard International, Wednesday announced they have entered into a global marketing agreement under which they will co-market elcom.com’s Windows NT-based PECOS Procurement Manager Automated Procurement System internationally for use with MasterCard’s Corporate Purchasing Card. Elcom International, through elcom.com, will utilize PECOS Procurement Manager, its Automated Procurement System, with MasterCard International’s Corporate Procurement Card program, resulting in a fully automated electronic purchasing solution which uses MasterCard as its primary payment methodology. Under this new agreement, MasterCard and elcom.com will first target companies outside the United States.

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Visa Takes Triple Crown

Yesterday, Visa USA and Triple Crown Productions, renewed their partnership agreement. Visa will continue to be the exclusive worldwide sponsor of the Visa Triple Crown which includes broadcast branding, signage and becoming the “Preferred Card” at all tracks. Visa will also continue sponsorship of the $5 million Visa Triple Crown Challenge Bonus until 2005. All Visa Member banks and merchants will continue to recieve pass-through rights to execute promotions surrounding the Visa Triple Crown races.

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Retail Sales Up

May same-store retail sales rose a moderate 2.5 percent over the same period last year, with sales boosted by stronger West Coast spending, according to data compiled by TeleCheck Services, Inc.. The Midwest region led the nation, followed by the Mid-Atlantic, the Southeast, the West and Southwest (tied) and the Northeast. The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 210,000 subscribing locations.

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MedCard Mastercard

SIMS Communications Inc. Wednesday announced that its MedCard Division has signed an agreement with MasterCard International Incorporated to promote patients’ use of the MasterCard Card at MedCard’s physician-clients’ offices. MasterCard, in conjunction with MedCard, will promote the card’s use by patients for meeting their insurance co-payment and deductible obligations. Between July 1 and August 31, MasterCard will offer incentives to certain offices using the MedCard System that increase their MasterCard sales.

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Providian Launch

Providian Financial Wednesday announced the launch of its credit card in the United Kingdom. Recognizing the UK as a strong and growing market for consumer credit products, Providian chose the country as the entry point for the development of its international expansion.

Over the past 14 years, Providian has refined its customer-focused business strategy to develop and deliver products to a broad array of customers in the U.S. The company has leveraged this experience to accelerate its development of credit card offers for the international market, and to rapidly move into the UK market.

“The Providian UK team is very excited to take this first step in a disciplined approach to identify unmet customer needs in the U.K.,” said Jim Elliott, Providian Executive Vice President and Managing Director of UK Operations. “The combination of capabilities imported from the U.S. and exceptional local talent gives me confidence in our success in the United Kingdom.”

Providian is tapping a diverse and skilled labor pool that the Greater London area offers to support rapid growth in the UK, and the company currently expects to employ up to 300 employees by the end of 1999.

“Our commitment to investment in international expansion illustrated by this move into the United Kingdom is another example of our approach to continue our long-term earnings growth and build lasting shareholder value,” said Shailesh Mehta, Providian Financial’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Providian Financial Corporation (www.providian.com) is a leading provider of lending and deposit products to consumers nationwide. With $16 billion in assets under management and over 9 million customers, Providian Financial serves a broad, diversified market with products that include credit cards, revolving lines of credit, home loans, secured cards and fee-based services. San Francisco-based Providian Financial is one of the ten largest bankcard issuers in the nation, and in 1998 ranked as the seventh best performing stock in the S&P 500 and the single best performing stock in the S&P Financial Composite Index.

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HyperSecure VP

HyperSecur Corporation announced Wednesday that its wholly-owned subsidiary, HyperSecur Corporation (Canada) has appointed Mr. Jean Sureaud as Vice President, Research & Development.

Most recently, Mr. Sureaud was the President of a consulting company that focused on information technology and telecommunications. He worked 10 years as a computer project manager developing applications in diverse fields before joining SGF Thompson (now known as STMicroelectronics NV, NYSE: STM) for 7 years. He assumed the position of Marketing Manager for Northern Europe and Germany and then headed the Design Assistance Department (Chip Design Laboratories).

In 1988, he joined Gemplus S.C.A. (the world’s leading provider of plastic and smart card-based solutions, according to Dataquest 1998), where he acted as Project Manager and later became the President of Gemplus Canada for three years. As President of Gemplus Canada, he initiated the first smart card deployment in public telephones in North America with Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE). He also worked on an E-purse project and contactless technology in the transit sector. He received a Master’s degree with honours in Computer Science from the University of Paris in 1971.

Earlier this month, HYURA acquired HyperSecur (Canada), which represented that its major asset is the HyperProximity(TM) chip. The hyper proximity technology was introduced earlier this month at the STMicroelectronics booth at the CardTech/SecurTech Conference held in Chicago. The technology will be implemented in the ST16HF52 contactless smart card from STMicroelectronics. The chip is a dual proximity level contactless solution based on ISO 14443 Type B. Mr. Sureaud, a co-inventor of the HyperProximity technology, said: “Our new chip will become the standard for smart cards because of its dual functions and the reduced maintenance cost for readers. We are just starting to understand all the potential uses the chip may have in the information and security sectors.”

HyperSecur Corporation plans to exploit this high-tech state-of-the-art technology with strategic partnerships to develop the hardware and software necessary to market the new technology to card manufacturers, system integrators and end users. The final product will be a new contactless chip and smart card based operating system supporting an innovative security structure. Presently, there is very limited use of the HyperProximity technology. At this time, the Company has not fully evaluated the market potential of the technology and, therefore, is not sure of its size. The Class A common stock of the corporation is traded on the Over-The-Counter Electronic Bulletin Board (“OTCBB”) system with the symbol: HYURA.

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Dining a la Card

Transmedia Network Inc., updated the status of its acquisition of Dining a la Card from The Signature Group, indicating that the transaction remains on track. In March 1999, Transmedia and The Signature Group entered into a definitive agreement whereby Transmedia will acquire substantially all of the assets of Dining a la Card, creating a dining savings program with more than 2.5 million cardmembers and 10,000 restaurant merchants across the United States. In April 1999, Transmedia announced that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott- Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act had expired.

Gene Henderson, President and CEO of Transmedia, said, “Although we had originally hoped to meet our aggressive timetable to complete the financing arrangements and close the transaction by the end of May, we now anticipate that the closing may not occur until the middle of the third calendar quarter of 1999. We are working with our financing sources to complete the process, which includes obtaining an investment grade rating on the facility. We continue to pursue our integration plan for the assimilation of Dining a la Card and look forward to providing our members, merchants, and marketing partners with the premier dining program in the country.”

Rod Starmer, Senior Vice President of The Signature Group, said, “We remain committed to the sale of Dining a la Card and the high-quality dining program that the combination with Transmedia will bring to our marketing partners and member base.”

Transmedia Network Inc., based in North Miami, Florida, is a leader in the development and marketing of transaction-based dining and other consumer savings programs. The Signature Group, based in Schaumburg, Illinois, is a leading provider of fee-based membership services including Dining a la Card, a dining program which serves members of several frequent flyer programs, including American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, TWA, Northwest Airlines, Continental Airlines, and British Airways.

Statements in this release that are not strictly historical are “forward- looking” statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, which may cause the company’s actual results in the future to differ materially from expected results. These risks are qualified in their entirety by cautionary language and risk factors set forth in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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MDC Partners With FUSA

MDC corporation announced yesterday that is has entered into a five-year marketing partnership with First USA. First USA will directly market a series of affinity cards to the 13 million MDC customers. MDC offers secure transaction products including personalized transaction, electronic transaction, secure ticketing, stamps and business and technology services. MDC and First USA will also cross market their products including sharing links to each others Website.

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HECO Web-Based Billing

CheckFree and Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) Wednesday announced an agreement that will enable HECO’s more than 270,000 customers to receive Internet-based electronic billing and payment services beginning this fall. When the service is offered this fall, Hawaiian Electric customers who visit a financial services Web site offering the CheckFree E-Bill service will be able to receive and pay their electric bills via the World Wide Web with the click of a mouse. Unlike most other online services that offer bill payment only, customers who sign up for this service will see full-color electric bills — complete with graphics, logos and total billing details.

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Diebold Comware S.A. Complete

Diebold, Incorporated announced yesterday that it has completed its acquisition of the ATM service business of Comware S.A., based in Bogota. Comware had been a Diebold distributor since 1985.

Diebold announced the acquisition in March when it acquired 55 percent of Richardson & Cia. Ltda., a financial technology company in Bogota which was renamed Diebold Colombia S.A. The Comware ATM service business will become part of the Diebold Colombia organization. Diebold Colombia handles sales and service for all Diebold product offerings in Colombia.

Diebold, Incorporated is the global leader in providing integrated delivery systems and services. Founded in 1859, the company employs more than 6,000 associates in some 120 locations worldwide with headquarters in Canton, Ohio, USA. Diebold reported revenue of US$1.2 billion in 1998 and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ‘DBD.’ For more information, visit the company’s Web site at [www.diebold.com][1].

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

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