Biz Credit Online

infoUSA Inc. announced this morning it has launched a business credit service on the Internet allowing users to purchase business credit reports for just $5 at www.businesscreditUSA.com. infoUSA also introduced its printed State Business Credit Directories for all 50 states priced between $95 and $195. Each business credit report includes: the type of business, SIC Code, length of time in business, key contact names and titles, credit rating score, number of employees, estimated sales volume, phone and fax numbers, corporate linkage, web site URLs, and area companies in the same line of business. infoUSA also says for the future, each report will include a picture of the business and a video.

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Paragren Launches Data Management Division

Paragren today announced the launch of its new Data Management Division. Under the direction of Tammy Jaffer, vice president of data management solutions, the division will develop, manage and support turnkey Customer Relationship marketing (CRM) programs for paragren clients. In additional to building in-house expertise, the new division will develop strategic alliances with industry leaders to offer Paragren clients a full complement of best-of-breed CRM programs, including data capture, database creation and management, list management, campaign management and marketing services, mail processing, list management, e-commerce, telemarketing and fulfillment. Paragren’s turnkey CRM programs are based on open systems technology and are offered on both a shore- and long-term basis, allowing companies to easily migrate their programs back in-house.

Dan Lackner, chief operating officer of Paragren said. In today’s competitive environment, companies require business partners who share a common vision of providing customers the complete turnkey solutions they desire. The establishment of a data management division permits Paragren to address this growing demand for relationship marketing solutions. Paragren’s new data management offering in combination with the company’s leading-edge software and market intelligence services is the ideal solution for clients that wish to achieve the full results of effective relationship marketing but lack the internal resources to do so.’

‘Providing data management support capability for its clients is a logical progression for Paragren. In today’s marketplace companies are dealing with a multitude or operational issues. Many businesses, for example, are dealing with Year 2000 challenges and are unable to divert resources to implement marketing initiatives. Still other want to focus internal resources on their core competencies and business objectives. Implementing a customer relationship marketing system presents its own challenges, and businesses don’t necessary have the desire or relationship marketing system presents its own challenges, and businesses don’t necessarily have the desire or resource to do everything in house,’ said Jaffer. ‘We are tremendous opportunity to integrate a data management capability with existing core competencies high performance marketing software, professional services and unmatched market intelligence services to provide program management expertise and flawless execution.’

One-By-One includes One-By-One Data Discoverer, for integrating exploration, analysis and data mining. One-By-One Campaign Manager, for developing and deploying complex marketing campaigns, and One-By-One Interactive Marketer, for real-time, one-to-one marketing execution. All One-By-One applications are powered by One-By-One Application Server, a powerful engine that rapidly organizes data, regardless of its source, into a unified, logical, customer-centric framework. One-By-One is based on an open, flexible and scaleable architecture that is platform independent and enhances existing investments in data warehouse, data mining and statistical analysis technology. For more information send e-mail to info@paragren.com, or call 888-420-4213 or 703-995-1878.

About Paragren. . . .

Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Paragren Technologies, Inc. is the leader in Enterprise Relationship Marketing, helping business discover, establish and grow profitable customer relationships. By integrating innovative software, customer and market intelligence, and real world expertise. Paragren provides an optimized relationship marketing solution. The One-By-One software suite, enhanced with professional services and unique consumer purchasing data, empowers marketers to execute complex marketing programs quickly and easily. Paragren is a purchasing data, empowers marketers to execute complex marketing programs quickly and easily. Paragren is a wholly owned subsidiary of APAC Customer Services. Additional information is available at [www.paragren.com][1].

Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, with corporate offices located nationally and internationally, APAC Customer Services provides clients with end-to-end solutions for one-to-one success. Today with 87 customer contact centers with more than 20,000 employees, APAC is one of the largest and most technologically advanced providers of customer acquisition and customer care services. The company’s Web site address is [www.apaccustomerservices.com][2].

[1]: http://www.paragren.com/
[2]: http://www.apaccustomerservices.com/

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Rate Sells

The offered card interest rate and other price-related features continues to be the dominant pull for new accounts according to a new study by PSI Global. Price-related features are important to 46% of all U.S. households and to half of all card-holding households. After price, rewards are the next most popular card feature. The PSI survey of 2,400 U.S. households found that 13% favor a rewards program. This group’s average annual income is $67,000 compared to $46,700 for all households. According to PSI, general purpose credit card issuers opened a total of 17 million new accounts last year. Although only 10% of households professed a need for additional credit, customers still respond to offers for cards with features that match their needs. Almost half of the new accounts were additional, and 42% were opened to replace other accounts. Seventy-one percent of APR-driven households, and 58% of high-credit limit households say that they always pay a finance charge on at least one account. Among all households, 46% consistently revolve a balance.

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Best Estimates

The FDIC has indicated that losses stemming from its takeover of CO-based BestBank and its sub-prime card portfolio will now far surpass the $172 million previously estimated. The costs are expected to go higher as the FDIC has been unsuccessful in selling off BestBank’s cards. As a result, 440,000 VISA accounts were cancelled Friday. The cancelled Best Bank accounts were directly tied to the required travel club that was offered by BestBank’s marketing agent. The FDIC says there are still 13,000 secured card accounts that remain open and active, and it continues to solicit offers for these accounts. In its efforts to unload BestBanks’ cards the FDIC sent out portfolio details to 132 interested parties and received a total of six bids. One deal was accepted and was set to close Jan 29. However, after two extensions, the FDIC decided last week to withdraw the portfolio from the marketplace, close the accounts and take the loss. BestBank was seized July 23 after it was determined it was severely undercapitalized. The failure was related to its rapid growth in opening sub-prime card accounts and subsequently in accumulating charge-offs. The bank offered a VISA card with a $600 credit line if the applicant agreed to charge $500 in dues for a related travel club. Civil lawsuits have been filed and a criminal investigation was launched in December.

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LanTran

Datacap Systems, Inc., a leading provider of integrated payment systems, announced the availability of LanTran, a payment processing system designed to easily add electronic payment acceptance to popular multi-lane electronic cash registers and POS systems.

LanTran is a completely integrated, self-contained system that includes its own local area network, a Store Manager Terminal and interface devices that also support popular register peripherals. Simple commands with the transaction amount form the cash register trigger LanTran to handle some (or all) aspects of the payment process, including card swipe, PIN entry, communications, authorization, receipt printing, batch settlement and reporting functions.

LanTran is currently interfaced to popular electronic cash registers manufactured by NCR, Sharp and Samsung. Other manufacturers’ cash registers that have been previously interfaced to Verifone’s PNC330/340 will also operate with LanTran. LanTran’s interface to various peripherals, including PIN pad, check reader, mag card reader and draft printer means cash register functionality can be expande3d without additional register development.

LanTran creates significant phone line savings for multi-line retailers by channeling all payment authorization requests through the Store Manager Terminal and a single dial phone line, ISDN interface or cellular (CDPD) connection. Additional savings are realized through consolidation and simplified end-of-day close procedures, and through simpler integrated register and LAN applications.

For more information, contact Datacap at datacap@dcap.com or visit our home page at [http://www.dcap.com][1].

The Company

Datacap Systems, Inc., has successfully designed, manufactured and marketed integrated credit/debit/check verification systems, point-of-sale registers and software for retail systems for over 15 years. Datacap’s experience with business system developers and banks/processors had guided the development of products and services that help banks obtain transactions form integrated business systems, and makes it easy for merchants to get their business systems activated and supported for payment verification. In the process, Datacap has created partnering relationships between business systems providers and banks for rapid deployment and support of integrated payment verification solutions.

Datacap’s payment verification interfaces are designed to allow virtually any system, regardless of operating systems or hardware platform, to get easy access to payment processing networks for credit, debit, check, EBT and loyalty program processing. Datacap’s products are used in retail, mail/telephone order, hospitality, quick service, lodging, petroleum, parking, auto rental, convenience, medical and government applications.

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

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January Roar

American consumers added more than $5 billion in revolving debt during January according to preliminary figures released Friday afternoon by the Federal Reserve. Historically January is a credit contraction period, however, this year, revolving credit and total consumer credit grew at its highest annual rate in more than one year. For January 1998 revolving credit card debt grew at annual rate of 4.3% versus this year’s 12.2% annual rate. Last January revolving credit stood at $533.0 billion. Overall consumer credit is growing 13.5% annually according to the FRB. At the end of January, American consumers were $1.315 trillion in debt, exclusive of home mortgages.

REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL
Jan 99 Dec 98 Nov 98 Oct98 Sep98 Aug98 Jul98 Jun98 May98 Apr98
%GRWTH: 12.2% 8.5 -2.5 12.9 7.4 10.6 -4.3 9.2 -1.4 5.4
$OWED: $565.9 560.2 556.3 557.4 551.5 548.2 543.4 545.3 541.2 541.8

Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 03/05/99;
For complete historical data visit www.carddata.com.

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ORGA-India

Germany’s ORGA has won a contract for India’s first smart card-based driver’s license.The project will take place in the Indian state of Gujarat for an estimated 10 million driver’s licenses. The first phase will involve installing 25 issuing systems across the state of Gujarat, which will then be followed by a full state rollout. The smart driver’s license will store the owner’s fingerprint as well as traditional personal details. India represents one of the highest potential markets for payment cards with a total of 950 million people.

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@PayPOS Update

GlobeID Software announcedlast week it has integrated its ‘@PayPOS’, a java-based >point of sale software, with Microsoft ‘Site Server 3.0 Commerce Edition’ for the Windows NT Server platform. The integration of ‘@PayPOS’ with Microsoft ‘Site Server’ allows merchants to >focus their resources on sales and fulfillment processes, while outsourcing the complexities of real-time Internet payment processing to ‘@dvanced Payment Solution’ operators.

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ORCC Network

With recent announcements about new content and nationwide access to its services, Online Resources & Communications Corporation, a leading service bureau in the Internet and remote banking industry, has achieved its goal of integrating its proprietary technology and services with its well established network links to financial institutions, consumers, and financial content.

By creating a “network of networks” and integrating and packaging the data that flows through them, Online Resources can provide financial institutions and their clients a content-rich, cost-effective and easily implemented suite of interactive financial services. Online Resources’ network of networks for financial electronic commerce (EC) includes:

–An EFT (electronic funds transfer) Gateway to a network of processors, ATM networks and financial technology companies that link Online Resources to financial institutions.

–A Content Gateway (the Financial Services Center or FSC) to a network of third-party financial content providers that supplement Online’s billpaying and banking services.

–An Access Gateway to a network of access providers or Online’s proprietary servers, giving consumer multiple access options through the Internet or dial-up networks using a variety of enabling devices and software.

Alex Seltzer, executive vice president, systems & technology, said the company has simplified what is highly complex technology. “At the heart of our financial EC network of networks is a sophisticated integration capability,” Seltzer said. “By integrating our proprietary technology with well established network links to financial institutions, consumers and content, we do much more than merely link gateways; we can pull data from various sources, integrate and package it into value-added consumer financial services and information.”

Online Resources’ EFT Gateway enables “plug and play” implementation of online financial services. With technological links to more than 50 companies, Online has a real-time transaction path to substantially all U.S. financial institutions for online bill paying and account information.

The recently announced FSC is the centerpiece of Online Resources’ Content Gateway. The FSC supplements Online’s core billpaying and banking services by providing consumer access to online insurance, loan approval, securities trading, investment information, financial planning tools and shopping services. Online built and maintains the FSC, but it appears as a bank-branded service on the institution’s Web site.

Online Resources has long been known for its Access Gateway that offers multi-access capabilities, linking consumers to their money through the Internet, private PC networks, telephones and ScreenPhones. On PCs, consumers can use Online’s banking and billpaying interface, personal financial management (PFM) software such as Intuit’s Quicken or Microsoft’s Money, or other banking and billpaying software provided by Online access partners such as Aftech, Fiserve, Ultradata, Voice Access and other providers of Internet and dial-up access servers.

McLean, Va.-based Online Resources & Communications Corporation ([www.orcc.com][1]) provides Internet and remote banking services to financial institutions that “privately brand” them. The company’s patented ATM network-based architecture allows real-time bill paying and account information with major cost and quality benefits. And by merging various network access and device alternatives with comprehensive financial content and the banking industry’s established payments infrastructure, Online Resources has developed a network of networks and a one-stop electronic commerce solution for financial institutions. The company, founded in 1989, is privately-held and serves 315 financial institutions nationwide.

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

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Tikitbox Expands into Hawaii

The Pathways Group, Inc. announced recently that it has entered into a letter of intent with Consolidated Amusement Company, Inc. in Honolulu, Hawaii. The letter of intent anticipates a contract between Pathways and Consolidated Amusement Company, Inc. to provide an integrated system for unattended electronic ticketing, concession purchases, and loyalty program cards to a new “Sixteen- Plex” Consolidated Amusement Company theater located at the Pearlridge Shopping Center. The system will include Pathways’ existing Smart Card technology, as well as terminals and other PC-related read/write devices, card fulfillment, transaction processing and related backroom support services. Pathways’ integrated system and backroom support will also provide Consolidated Amusement Company, Inc. with database management, reports, interfaces, security, card stock management, personalization, fulfillment, clearance, and the facilitation of account settlement.

The pending agreement calls for the installation of Pathways’ proprietary TIKITBOX(TM) product at various locations within the theater. These ticketing kiosks will allow Consolidated Amusement’s customers the ability to purchase tickets in an unattended fashion. Customers will also be eligible for acquiring loyalty points, frequent movie passes, and concession purchases using a smart card. The loyalty points will then be available for redemption for purchase of products or services in the theater or at other merchants participating in the program. Further, an exclusive client card program, which is part of the anticipated system, will have benefits that break new ground in the cinema viewing experience.

Carey Daly, President and CEO of The Pathways Group, Inc. said, “We are pleased to be extending our involvement in the Hawaii business market, and particularly pleased to be working with a client of Consolidated Amusement’s stature. We believe we can provide Consolidated Amusement with a high technology solution in the form of smart card and kiosk systems that exceed anything being offered in the industry today. The use of our core technology, in yet another new venue for Pathways, validates the company’s position as a leading force in Smart Card Technology.”

Consolidated Amusement Company, Inc. operates multi-screen theaters throughout the state of Hawaii, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pacific Theatres Corporation of California. The parent company operates over thirty additional venues of multi-screen configuration on the West Coast.

The Pathways Group, Inc. provides clients with innovative and unique solutions for securely creating, capturing and processing data and electronic transactions using custom application software and hardware systems. The company was established in 1987 by Carey Daly and has evolved into a leader in the development of custom software and hardware for electronic banking, data and transaction processing, and smart card applications. Pathways creation of proprietary “back room” systems allows for the capture and processing of data and transfer of funds via “ACH” protocol, the standard used in the banking industry for transfer of funds in retail, medical and institutional environments.

Forward-looking statements in this release are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statement. Investors are cautioned that such forward looking statements involve risk and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, dependence on the developing smart card marketplace; market acceptance of the company’s products; the rate at which the company’s customers deploy smart card solutions; and dependence on third party marketing arrangements.

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Wachovia Digital Financial Services Division

Wachovia Corporation announced Thursday the formation of a Wachovia Digital Financial Services Division to focus on the delivery of Internet and electronic services for consumers.

“The new division demonstrates a commitment by Wachovia to Internet and related electronic consumer financial services that customers increasingly are using and demanding,” said Lawrence G. Baxter, executive vice president and head of the new division. “It will integrate and align existing Internet services and traditional financial services for electronic delivery through computers, laptops and TVs (with Internet access), as well as ATMs, debit and smart cards, and interactive kiosks.”

The division has responsibility for product management for the Internet and digital access devices, Internet alliances and marketing, and continued development of technology that supports Wachovia’s Internet presence and employee intranet. The division also will focus on web functionality, customer personalization, e-mail, privacy and security issues.

Wachovia’s Internet web site at http://www.wachovia.com, which includes Wachovia PC Access Online Banking and Online Investing, has been recognized by PC publications as among the leading financial services sites on the World Wide Web. Wachovia has more than 1,300 ATMs in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The company also is a leader in banking and debit card services and has been among the pilot providers of stored-value cards.

Wachovia Corporation is an interstate bank holding company with headquarters in Atlanta and Winston-Salem, N.C. At December 31, 1998, Wachovia Corporation had assets of $64.1 billion. Wachovia Bank, N.A., the principal banking subsidiary, has more than 750 offices in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Wachovia PC Access is a registered service mark of Wachovia Corporation.

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Las Vegas Deal

777WINS and eConnect (www.hpos.com) have signed a Letter of Intent for eConnect to acquire 777WINS by July 1999 with cash and stock.

777WINS.com has been consistently rated as one of the top 3 Internet casinos by Internet casino rating services.

777WINS.com is based in the free-trade zone of Costa Rica and enjoys current monthly earnings of $10,000 after having been in business for 4 months.

Over the next 60 days, 777WINS will increase its telecommunications bandwidth and will be able to service more than 300 players at any one time, which will result in a projected monthly earnings of $100,000-plus by the fourth quarter.

777WINS will generate additional revenues by acting as the Group Gate for PERFECT Internet Casino transactions, which are ATM card and smart card same-as-cash transactions being sent electronically from home and office terminals.

The 777WINS Internet Casino Group Gate will receive a transaction fee as competitor Internet casinos are being paid.

According to an eConnect spokesperson: “The next 24 months will show a global explosion of pay-per-play, same-as-cash electronic wagering by smart card and ATM card home and office terminals, which migrated into the home as a bill payment device but which will also be used to wager.

“The acquisition of 777WINS will not only bring the substantial earnings of 777WINS to the eConnect eGaming division, it will also position 777WINS to collect service fees for the eConnect eGate division (www.hpos.com) as it routes PERFECT Internet casino transactions to competitor Internet casinos.

“Over the next year, we will be acquiring a lottery, bingo and slots company that will service those respective gaming fields,” the spokesperson concluded.

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