eBay Aquires Billpoint

eBay Inc. Tuesday unveiled plans to make it easier for its nearly four million members to buy and sell online. The world’s largest online person-to-person trading community announced it will purchase Billpoint, Inc. Billpoint, located in Redwood City, California, facilitates person-to-person credit card payment over the Internet.

“We are committed to providing the eBay community with the simplest and easiest way to trade online,” said Meg Whitman, president and chief executive officer of eBay. “Streamlining person-to-person trading is a core part of our strategy and Billpoint will offer shoppers a convenient and easy-to-use payment solution that will serve the needs of the eBay community at large.”

“eBay is a recognized leader in person-to-person commerce,” said Hope X. Chen, Billpoint’s co-ceo and chief operating officer. “Billpoint will simplify auctions by making payments a seamless and integrated part of the trading experience.”

As the pioneering online person-to-person payment enabler, Billpoint will eliminate the difficulties of dealing with paper checks and money orders. Sellers will use Billpoint to instantly accept credit cards and other forms of payment online. Buyers will use Billpoint to “buy with peace of mind.” Billpoint plans to make its services available to other e-commerce sites and to individuals across the Internet.

eBay said that the agreement to purchase Billpoint and the purchase of Kruse International, a second transaction announced today, will together result in the issuance of eBay common stock worth approximately $275 million. Both will be accounted for as pooling of interest transactions. The number of shares to be issued in the transactions will be determined by a formula involving the average share price of eBay common stock during a period prior to the closing of the transactions. eBay expects that the transactions may be slightly dilutive during the remainder of 1999. Closing is subject to certain conditions, and eBay may recognize certain one-time expenses related to the transactions in the second quarter. Both transactions are expected to close during the second quarter of 1999.

Forward-Looking Statement

This announcement contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including those relating to the closing of this transaction. Actual results could differ materially from those discussed. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, stock price movements, the Company’s ability to integrate these new businesses and all of the factors that may influence future business and financial results, including those set forth in the Company’s Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 1998, its form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 1999 and the Company’s prospectus on Form S-1 dated April 12, 1999. All forward-looking statements are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update such statements.

About eBay

eBay (), the world’s personal trading community(TM), pioneered person-to-person online trading. Founded in 1995, eBay has developed an efficient and entertaining trading site on the Web that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. eBay has more than 3.8 million registered users and over 8 million unique people visited the site in March. Currently, there are more than 1.8 million items listed for sale. More than 250,000 items are added daily in more than 1,500 categories, including: antiques; books, movies and music; coins and stamps; collectibles; computers; dolls and figures; jewelry and gemstones; photo and electronics; pottery and glass; sports memorabilia; and toys.

About Billpoint

Billpoint () facilitates person-to-person credit card payments over the Internet. Addressing the growing needs of auctions, classifieds and community sites, Billpoint empowers the entrepreneur in all of us by simplifying online payment collection. Billpoint, founded in 1998, is located in Redwood City, California. The company’s management team brings significant expertise from both the Internet portal environment and the electronic payments industry.


Sears Now Uses TS2

Just 11 months after signing the agreement to process Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s 64 million private-label card portfolio, Total System Services, Inc has successfully completed the third and final phase, converting the Sears card portfolio from its in-house system to TS2(R), TSYS’ state-of-the-art, Year 2000-compliant card processing system.

TSYS completed the conversion during the week of April 17, converting the remaining 32 million accounts after previously converting the first two phases of 7.2 million accounts and 24.8 million accounts in October 1998 and March 1999, respectively. All phases combined represent the largest conversion in the credit card industry, making Sears TSYS’ largest client.

“Our partnership with TSYS allows Sears to build on our strategy of developing and leveraging our customer relationships, treating each customer individually,” said Alan Lacy, president, Sears Credit. “TSYS clearly understands Sears unique processing needs, making them an exceptional partner.”

“We are delighted with the successful conversion of the Sears portfolio. We knew that successfully converting Sears would be one of our greatest challenges. Sears is one of the preeminent card issuers and best-known companies in the world, and the confidence they have placed in us is a source of great pride for our entire team. While our TS2 system is the finest in the industry, the people who support TS2 and all of our systems are our greatest competitive advantage,” said TSYS President Philip W. Tomlinson.

“We are honored that Sears chose us as their retail processor of choice. This partnership will help us to further strengthen our retail initiatives.” He continued, “TSYS has experienced extraordinary growth in the retail arena in recent years. While we have processed retail cards for the past 10 years, TSYS has acquired the expertise that makes retail a strategic business initiative that we are aggressively pursuing. We’ve equipped our team members with the tools and resources to better understand just how unique the needs of retailers are,” said Tomlinson.

“We are very impressed with the ‘can-do’ spirit of the TSYS team. In 11 months, TSYS assembled a dedicated support team who completed all development supporting the Sears legacy system, completed all phases of the conversion on schedule and were a pleasure to work with,” said Kevin Phalen, Sears director, portfolio conversion.

To accommodate TSYS’ aggressive growth which includes converting 78 million accounts in 1999, TSYS constructed a data center to house the latest technology and equipment needed. The center, called a ‘showcase accomplishment’ by IBM, was constructed in less than 120 days. Sears acknowledges that its construction played a major role in cementing the deal between the two companies.

Phalen continued, “Throughout the conversion process, TSYS went to great lengths to understand not only the unique processing needs of the retail industry but of Sears, in particular. They never suggested that we take any short cuts or alter our business requirements for their convenience. Throughout the conversion, the TSYS team exhibited a willingness to learn and understand our business. Because of this, Sears now has the flexibility to provide various products to our customers as well as improve service support of Sears multiple retail formats and operations.”

“TS2 enables us to accomplish large-scale conversions quickly and efficiently,” said Richard M. Cogar, TSYS Transition Manager for Sears. “Our team members’ dedication and expertise enabled us to exceed Sears expectations and to form some incredible relationships with their team.”

“The conversion of Sears 64 million accounts speaks so well of TS2’s ability to handle diverse portfolios from retailers as well as financial institutions,” said TSYS Vice President and Sears Account Manager Roddy Hunter. “We utilized best practices during the conversion process, and now it is time for us to demonstrate these practices in all facets of our relationship so that we can help Sears leverage the system to meet their business objectives and get on with the business at hand.”

The Sears credit portfolio is by far the largest in the retail industry — bigger than the next 10 combined. In 1998, more than 32 million Sears accounts were active, and the portfolio’s average managed receivables were nearly $28 billion. Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenues of more than $41 billion. For more information, visit Sears Web site at .

TSYS is one of the world’s leading information technology processors of data, transactions and payments for domestic and international issuers of credit, debit, commercial and private-label cards. TSYS’ sophisticated systems offer online accounting, data processing, electronic commerce services, portfolio management, account acquisition, credit evaluation, risk management and customer service. Through our family of companies, TSYS services the entire lifecycle of card accounts making it possible for more than 188 million cardholders to use their cards at the point of sale or over the Internet. Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., TSYS, is an 80.8% owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. named the Best Company to Work for in America by FORTUNE magazine.

Visit TSYS at :


Discover Acceptance

Bank of America and Discover Financial Services signed an agreement Tuesday to expand acceptance of ‘Discover Cards’ through Bank of America’s network of more than 14,000 ATMs nationwide. BofA began accepting ‘Discover’ via its ATM network in the early 1990s. Due to last year’s merger between NationsBank and Bank of America, the new Bank of America and Discover Financial Services agreed to expand acceptance of ‘Discover’ through the NationsBank ATM network. Discover currently has 46 million cardholders.



The San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission will take a vote next Wednesday on whether to award a 10-year contract to a consortium led by Motorola to provide and develop a smart-card ticket system. The smart-card system would be called ‘TransLink’. If the Commission recommends the contract, the nine county Bay Area would become the first in the nation to have a universal ticket for use on all forms of public transportation. Similar smart-card ticket transit systems are in use in Hong Kong and Korea.



Consumer smart cards hit the nation’s capital for the first time yesterday as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority introduced ‘SmarTrip’. Tuesday’s event also marked the first use of contactless smart card technology on a major transit system in the USA. Metrorail riders will be able to store up to $198 in fare and parking value on the reloadable smart card. The WMATA is charging a $5 fee for each new ‘SmartTrip’ smart card or each replacement card. As an incentive Metro is offering a 10% bonus for riders who load $20 or more onto their card. VISA, MasterCard and Discover cards are being accepted for purchasing fare media and adding value at selected major stops such as the Metro Center. Earlier this year WMATA added internet sales to its web site, inaugurating ‘SmartLink’ for purchasing passes and Metrorail fare cards.The public transit service also launched a three month credit card pilot in April called: ‘SmartCharge’.


Secured Card Portfolio Sold

Baltimore-based Creditrust Corp. announced this morning it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire United Credit Card Bank for a purchase price of approximately $2.3 million in cash. Based in Louisiana, United Credit Card Bank issues MasterCard products, primarily to existing customers of its parent corporation. The accounts are secured by second mortgage loans on real estate. Creditrust is also receiving a participation interest in an $8 million credit card portfolio originated by the bank with the remainder of the portfolio being sold to a third party.


Personal Touch

While e-banking is taking off big time, Americans still love the personal touch of dealing with a teller according to a new survey by NCR. The company says the research shows that if banks want their customers to accept new technologies, then they must preserve that personal touch through their interactive offerings. The survey showed that teller transactions are still the most popular way to bank, followed by ATMs, telephone banking, and computer banking. More than 70% of Americans make deposits via a bank teller, while 62% use ATMs; 48% telephone their bank at least once a month; 45% still visit a bank teller at least three times a month; and 11% use a personal computer to do banking. However NCR noted that nearly half of the 25% of Americans with online access at home use their computer for banking. The survey was carried out for NCR by research firm BMRB International, which polled 1,237 adults in the USA by telephone.


FUSA Comes In-House

First USA, the world’s largest Visa credit card issuer, announced Monday that, with the completion of its new Nevada payment processing center, it is moving rapidly toward processing all customer payments in-house. The company had previously outsourced much of its payment processing.

First USA began transitioning to in-house payment processing last fall as part of its commitment to provide superior customer service. The program will move all operations to internal payment processing and is expected to be complete by October 1999, according to Jeffrey G. J. Chittenden, chief of operations and technology for First USA.

“As a result of the merger of BANK ONE CORPORATION and First Chicago NBD last October, we have been able to take full advantage of our combined capabilities to provide high-quality service to our customers,” Chittenden said.

According to Chittenden, internal processing will permit First USA to use proprietary systems and internal quality control systems developed by First Card. In addition, the company will operate three regional payment processing centers across the United States and will direct customers to send payments to the nearest processing center to expedite delivery of payments.

First USA (), a subsidiary of BANK ONE CORPORATION (NYSE: ONE), is the world’s largest issuer of Visa cards. First USA offers credit cards for consumers and businesses under the First USA, First Card and Bank One names and on behalf of more than 1,500 marketing partners. BANK ONE CORPORATION, with assets of more than $250 billion, is the nation’s fifth- largest bank holding company.


ATS Money Systems 1Q/99

ATS Money Systems, Inc. announced Monday its results of operations for the quarter ended March 31,1999, which were set forth in its Quarterly Report Form 10-QSB filed with the SEC on May 10, 1999:

Quarter ended March 31
1999 1998

Total Revenues $3,290,643 $3,204,331
Net Income 245,117 113,421
Earnings Per Share $.04 $.02

Gerard F. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of ATS Money Systems, Inc., commented, “Total revenues for the first quarter 1999 were $3,290,643 compared to $3,204,331 for the first quarter 1998, an increase of $86,312 (2.7%). Net income increased $131,696 (116.1%) to $245,117 for the 1999 quarter. Earnings per share doubled from $.02 for the 1998 quarter to $.04 for the 1999 quarter.”

“Cost of equipment and system sales decreased from 63.8% of revenues in the 1998 quarter to 47.5% in the 1999 quarter, resulting from a favorable change in the mix of products sold during the first quarter 1999. System sales (which includes related software) increased while hardware sales decreased, having a positive effect on margins.”

Mr. Murphy further commented on the favorable results of the quarter, “Our incoming orders continue to be strong for our full range of products. The 166% increase in first quarter income is a result of new orders from the supermarket and fast food industries for our new electronic counting equipment, as well as continued acceptance of our system products from new and existing customers, including companies such as Dayton Hudson, Target Stores, Lowes Companies, Inc., Shopko Stores and The Home Depot, from whom we continue to receive orders.

“Additionally, the Company, which announced a stock repurchase plan on May 22, 1998, to repurchase up to 500,000 shares of its Common Stock in open market transactions, has at this time, purchased back in excess of 200,000 shares in the program thus far.”

About ATS Money Systems, Inc.

ATS Money Systems, Inc., with its consolidated wholly owned subsidiary Innovative Electronics, Inc., is engaged in the development sale and service of currency counting systems and equipment for department and chain stores’ cash offices and bank commercial vaults and of specialized information communications systems primarily used by chain stores. The Company’s customers are businesses that handle a large number of cash, check and credit transactions on a daily basis, such as banks, department stores and chain stores.


Polaroid ID Cards

Polaroid Corp. announced yesterday it won separate contracts to provide 3 million national identification cards in Guinea and voter identification cards to 3.6 million voters in Yemen. The Guinea national identification card program features laser personalization of ID cards printed on security paper with a Polaroid film image with Ultraviolet security protection both protected by a secure laminate. The Yemen election program will use Polaroid cameras and film to create Election Registration Voter cards for the Yemen Arabic Republic. Internationally, Polaroid produces identification documents for governments in more than 60 countries including Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Russia and China.


United Airlines and Kemper Team Up

United Airlines and Kemper Auto & Home have teamed up to offer Mileage Plus members a new opportunity to earn miles toward free travel. Mileage Plus members are invited to receive at least 250 miles simply by requesting a free, no obligation quote on their auto insurance through Kemper’s new direct response division at [www.ekemper.com/ual][1].

“In celebration of our new partnership with Kemper, we invite our Mileage Plus customers to take advantage of this mileage earning opportunity,” said Patricia Mash, President of Mileage Plus Marketing Inc. “As one of the top insurance organizations nationwide, we are delighted to add Kemper to our growing list of Mileage Plus partners.”

Kemper is the seventeenth largest property and casualty insurance company in the United States, with $3.7 billion in annual revenues and over $11.1 billion in assets. With a worldwide presence, a diversified product portfolio, experienced staff, competitive pricing, and superior customer service and claims handling, Kemper has earned superlative ratings: A+ from Standard and Poors, and A2 from Moody.

As the largest air carrier in the world and the largest majority employee-owned company, United Airlines offers 2,370 flights a day to 133 destinations in 27 countries and one U.S. territory. Mileage Plus has been named the best frequent flyer program by Business Traveler International magazine in 1996, 1997, and 1998, and by Conde Nast Traveler magazine in 1998 for frequent flier privileges. In addition, United was honored by Business Traveler International magazine and Conde Nast Traveler magazine as best major domestic airline in 1998.

[1]: http://www.ekemper.com/ual


Preferred Lodging Card

The National Advertising Review Board announced Monday it concurs with the decision of the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus regarding the truth and accuracy of VISA USA’s credit card advertising pertaining to use of the tag line, “The Preferred Lodging Card”. In Dec., the NAD determined that VISA’s tag line is an objectively provable claim, not mere puffery, and all reasonable interpretations must therefore be substantiated. While VISA did provide data to show more consumers use VISA than all other cards, the NARB insisted that overall sales volume is not sufficient evidence of consumer preference and that the other evidence in the record also did not establish preference. The NAD says since VISA failed to provide the substantiation that it should discontinue the tag line. In light of the NARB’s and NAD’s opinion, VISA announced Monday it will voluntarily cease distribution of the advertising and marketing at issue. American Express led the challenge.