EMS Picks Skipjack

Electronic Merchant Systems, a national merchant service provider operating in over 100 U.S. cities, chose Skipjack Merchant Services to provide secure, automated Internet credit card processing and virtual storefront implementation for its EMS E-Commerce services. Skipjack Merchant Services is a service of Bradley Madison Company with corporate offices in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In just a few months, the EMS and Skipjack combination has attracted a wide variety of retailers who specialize in such diverse products as pre-packaged foods, automotive products, online auctions, software products and martial arts books. “This illustrates how our new E-Commerce suite appeals to a range of interest categories. We’re very excited about the rate of acceptance and the resulting volume,” said Josh Felber, EMS Director of E-Commerce.

“This gives our merchants the ability to immediately increase their profits in the virtual world,” Mr. Felber remarked. “The relationship is a good fit,” adds Scott Valetti, SJMS Technology Channel Manager. “Both companies have similar philosophies. Both are dedicated to fast, reliable service. Both have a similar vision with regard to the selling power of the Web.”

In addition to the core transaction service, SJMS also consulted with EMS on the hosting solution. “We located, recommended and integrated all the best-of-breed components with regard to the needs of their particular system,” said George M. Farnell, Jr., SJMS Chief Technology Officer. The system was built utilizing Compaq ProLiant servers with the DISA (Distributed Internet Server Array) architecture running an electronic storefront solution powered by INEX Corporation. It enables quick and easily setup of electronic commerce sites online without additional software.

Skipjack Merchant Services supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card, Diners Club, JCB, and debit cards. It features real-time authorization and settlement as well as email receipts for customers and fulfillment entities.

For further information with regard to EMS and its services, contact Josh Felber at 1-800-726 2117 or visit


Advanta 1Q/99

Advanta Business Cards reported yesterday net income of $4.0 million for the first quarter. The average yield on the company’s business credit card portfolio, including fee income, increased this quarter to 20.36% from 19.85% last quarter due to increases in rates and higher fee income. This was partially offset by an increase in the net managed charge-off rate on business credit card loans of 5.61% this quarter compared to 5.46% last quarter. Managed receivables for ‘Advanta Business Cards’ at the end of the quarter were $832 million, up 2.1% from last quarter and 18.8% from the same quarter last year. For more details on Advanta’s 1Q/99 financials visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

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


Innovis Sold

First Data Corp. yesterday completed the selling of the stock of Innovis, a small credit bureau, to CBC Companies, Inc. of Columbus, OH. The transaction will result in net proceeds of approximately $20 million. FDC says by selling Innovis rather than discontinuing operations, certain tax benefits not previously available will be realized, making an after-tax gain of approximately $37 million.


Onsale Deal

Onsale, Inc. signed an exclusive multi-million dollar marketing agreement that includes a co-branded credit card with First USA. The agreement includes advertising, promotions and merchandising programs designed specifically for Onsale customers. First USA advertisements will appear at ‘Onsale atCost’ and ‘Onsale atAuction’. Onsale has over 1,000,000 people registered to bid. In the first quarter, the company served more than 1.2 million daily page views, and averaged 161,000 unique visitors a day.


E-Billing Ready?

Are U.S. businesses ready to change the way they send bills and receive payments? Apart from the high-volume billers, PSI Global has found that only four percent of other companies express a high level of interest in converting from paper-based systems to electronic bill presentment and payment. According to the firm’s annual study of U.S. billing and payment practices, just 13% of other businesses have investigated the use of the Internet for EBPP. In contrast, 57% of the leading billing industries already offer or have investigated EBPP options. The transition to electronic media alternatives remains slow, with 94% of all business bill payments still made by check and only 1% made electronically. PSI says last year companies issued approximately 3.3 billion bills to other firms and received about 5.5 billion business-generated bill payments.


OshKosh Contract

Midwest Payment Systems announced Monday that it signed a three-year agreement to provide Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit card processing and check guarantee services to OshKosh B’Gosh stores. Headquartered in OshKosh, Wisconsin, OshKosh B’Gosh is a children’s clothing manufacturer and retailer. OshKosh B’Gosh operates 128 retail locations in 41 states in the U.S.

“We chose Fifth Third’s Midwest Payment Systems for a variety of reasons,” offers Lee Teigen, OshKosh B’Gosh Director of Corporate Treasury Services. “They offered the best combination of price and value, and their back-office software product, MVISION, will streamline our operations and reduce our chargeback losses. With their leading-edge technology and reputation for outstanding service, we look forward to having MPS as a valuable processing partner.”

Barry L. Boerstler, Executive Vice President, Midwest Payment Systems, reports, “We are very honored to win this contract to provide processing services to OshKosh B’Gosh. They have a stellar reputation in the retail industry for the quality of their product, and we are pleased to partner with them. In addition, we are confident that they will find great merit in having chosen a processing leader.”

A subsidiary of Fifth Third, MPS was ranked #1 EFT provider by Faulkner & Gray in 1998. MPS processes over 2.9 billion ATM and POS transactions per year for more than 55,000 retail locations and financial institutions worldwide, including Federated Department Stores, The Kroger Company, Macy’s and CompUSA. MPS’ merchant customer base generates more than $30 billion in credit card sales annually.

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Company, which is Y2K ready, has $29.7 billion in assets, operates 12 affiliate banks with 476 Banking Centers, including 108 Bank Mart(R) locations open seven days a week in select grocery stores and 1,252 Jeanie(R) ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Florida and Arizona. Fifth Third’s financial strength continues to be recognized by rating agencies with deposit ratings of AA- and Aa2 and deposit ratings of Al+ and P1 from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Retail, Commercial, Investment Advisors and Midwest Payment Systems, the Bank’s data processing subsidiary. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com; press releases are also available by fax at no charge by calling 800-758-5804, extension 281775. The company’s common stock is traded in the over-the-counter market through the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol “FITB.”


ExTerra Buys FUSA Unit

ExTerra Credit Recovery, Inc. formally announces its plans to acquire a First USA credit card customer support unit located in Baton Rouge, La.

ExTerra Credit Recovery will initiate operations at the site on June 1, 1999, retaining nearly 140 former First USA employees.

Plans are already underway to expand the unit to become the company’s Southern Operations Center, which is expected to employ up to 500 people over the next few years. The center will relocate to a larger, permanent facility later this year.

The new Baton Rouge site will be ExTerra’s third call center opening in less than two years. The company currently has call center operations in Walnut Creek (San Francisco Bay Area) and Youngstown, Ohio.

“One of ExTerra’s key goals has been and continues to be prudent expansion,” says Suzanne Sheuerman, ExTerra president and chief executive officer.

“We intend to ramp up our operating capacity as quickly as possible, but always with the caveat that we do so only when we can ensure a professional operation with well-trained personnel. I believe this acquisition exemplifies our strategy. We’re very excited about this expansion opportunity in Baton Rouge.”

Headquartered in Walnut Creek, ExTerra Credit Recovery specializes in credit recovery and accounts receivable management. The company purchases under- and non-performing credit card accounts from large financial institutions, and works with customers to resolve the credit problem and help rebuild their credit standing.

Founded by a team of former banking and financial services executives, ExTerra Credit Recovery is quickly establishing itself as one of the leading debt recovery organizations in the country. The company currently owns and manages more than $350 million in credit card assets.


NextCard & E-Loan

NextCard and E-LOAN, provider of Internet-based mortgages, announced this morning a strategic marketing alliance to provide NextCard applicants direct access to E-LOAN’s mortgage products and services. The agreement marks the first time that NextCard applicants will be able to access mortgage products online through a co-branded loan center on NextCard’s site. E-LOAN will be NextCard’s prime online mortgage provider.


ECHO Up 77%

Electronic Clearing House Inc. Monday announced fiscal 1999 second quarter net income of $444,000, compared with a net income of $251,000 for the same period last year, a 77% increase.

Basic earnings per share were $.025 vs. a comparable figure of $.017 last year. Diluted earnings per share were $.019 vs. a comparable figure of $.012 last year.

Revenue for the quarter grew from $5,188,000 to $6,356,000 compared with last year, an increase of 23%.

Revenue for the first six months of the fiscal year increased from $9,400,000 to $11,825,000, a 26% increase. Net income also increased from $313,000 to $702,000, an increase of 124% compared with the same period last year.

Basic earnings per share for the first six months were $.042 and diluted earnings per share were $.031, compared with $.021 and $.015 per share, respectively, for the same period last year.

“In this quarter, ECHO completed the delivery of the U-Haul systems that were ordered in November of 1998. This brings the total U-Haul systems deployed to over 11,000. We expect that this new deployment will result in higher U-Haul transaction revenue as we enter the high volume summer months,” stated Joel Barry, chief executive officer of ECHO.

Electronic Clearing House provides credit card processing, check guarantee, inventory tracking services and various Internet services to more than 19,000 retail merchants and U-Haul dealers across the nation.

ECHO also designs, develops and manufactures software and point-of-sale hardware that is utilized as credit card processing terminals, automated money order dispensers, inventory tracking devices and casino cash advance systems.

To take advantage of the new “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, media are hereby cautioned that this release contains forward-looking statements that are based upon current expectations and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual operations and results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements made by the company.


Tidel Deal

Tidel Technologies, Inc. announced Monday that it has finalized a contract to sell Chameleon Internet Transaction Machines to Los Angeles-based Cash Technologies, Inc.. The initial term of the contract is two years with provisions for successive one-year renewals. The contract provides for specific pricing, with a schedule of quantities to be developed by the two companies.

According to Bruce Korman, Cash Tech’s Chairman and CEO, “We have selected the Chameleon as the initial hardware platform for our multifunction ATM-X(TM)automated teller machine. The Chameleon’s state-of-the-art Windows Open Systems Architecture (“WOSA”) operating system and multimedia capabilities makes it an ideal hardware solution for our ATM-X client software. ATM-X will offer sophisticated services such as real-time activated prepaid phone cards, electronic bill payment, check cashing and event ticketing.” Korman indicated that Cash Tech could deploy as many as 2,000 units during the initial contract period.

Mark Levenick, COO of Tidel, added, “We are very excited to partner with Cash Tech and believe they are positioning themselves to become a leader in the development of self-service e-commerce applications. With the selection of Tidel’s Chameleon to function as the heart of their new system, ATM-X will break new ground in ATM functionality. Looking ahead, we intend to grow our relationship with Cash Technologies to provide future joint e-commerce solutions.”

Tidel’s Chameleon ITM is an interactive multimedia kiosk that combines traditional banking functionality with support for the limitless e-commerce options of the Internet. The new product begins limited shipments next week.

About Cash Technologies

Cash Technologies, Inc. develops and markets innovative e-commerce kiosks and systems. The company also provides computerized cash processing services to institutions and cash-intensive businesses and can be found at .

About Tidel

Tidel Technologies, Inc. is a Texas-based manufacturer of automated teller machines and cash security equipment designed for specialty retail marketers. Tidel pioneered the dial-up ATM in 1992, and is the fastest growing major U.S. manufacturer of ATMs.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that may cause the company’s actual experience to differ materially from that anticipated. These forward-looking statements include projections of revenue and net income; issues that may affect revenue or net income; plans for the future; and assumptions relating to the foregoing. Estimates are based on reliable information and past experience. However, operating results are affected by a wide variety of factors, many of which are beyond the control of the company. Factors include, but are not limited to, the levels of orders which are received and can be shipped in a quarter; customer order patterns and seasonality; costs of labor, raw materials, supplies and equipment; technological changes; competition and competitive pressures on pricing; and economic conditions in the United States and worldwide. Additionally, factors and risks affecting operating results include those described in the company’s registration statements and periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


Billion $ Club

Citibank posted a gain of 900,000 accounts during the first quarter according to CardData’s ‘First Quarter 1999 Portfolio Survey’, and regained its number one ranking among the nation’s top issuers, based on outstandings. Meanwhile, Chase Manhattan’s account base slipped by 400,000 accounts during the first quarter. Cap One’s account base expanded by 1.3 million accounts during the first three months of 1999. Wachovia bucked the seasonal trend in all categories, posting a slight gain in receivables, accounts and cards-in-force, since Dec. 31. Direct Merchants dipped slightly in the first quarter but posted a surprisingly strong level of charge volume. For the latest first quarter 1999 data on the nation’s top 350 issuers visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

Citibank $69.4b $36.8b 41.4m
Chase $31.4b $11.9b 20.6m
Cap One $13.9b NA 18.0m
Wachovia $6.6b $1.3b 5.1m
Direct Merh $5.1b $0.9b 3.9m
Frst Omaha $3.2b $1.0b 3.8m
Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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


Enhanced SE Workstation

American Express and First of Omaha Merchant Processing launched an enhanced version of the ‘American Express SE Workstation’ yesterday. ‘SE Workstation’ is a PC-based software product that allows merchants to electronically access and resolve customer dispute data as well as reconcile financial information. The enhanced version will allow merchants to track actual chargebacks. ‘SE Workstation’ also allows merchants to sort and analyze data in various ways, creating reports that are tailored to individual needs.