Numero Uno ???

The answer to the question as to “Who is the biggest of them all?” was answered yesterday. Bank One is the undisputed number one issuer, based on card receivables. Bank One edged out Citigroup by more than $250 million. However Citigroup continues to lead in card volume and cards-in-force. Bank One released the breakout of its bank credit card business yesterday afternoon to CardData. CardData will release figures on the top 10 card issuers next week. Citigroup released its official U.S. bank credit card numbers to CardData on Wednesday.  For comprehensive quarterly and end-of-year statistics for more than 350 U.S. issuers visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

THE  CARD  INDUSTRY  LEADER  BOARD
EOY 98  RECV 4Q-98  VOLUME YTD 98 VOLUME EOY 98 CARDS
Bank One $69,860,600,000   $28,685,400,000   $99,170,400,000       56,502,900
Citigroup    $69,600,000,000   $42,200,000,000  $140,600,000,000       69,700,000
                Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)

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

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Erasing Credit Repair

The FTC announced Thursday the settlement of another four of the nineteen cases filed in March 1998 as part of ‘Operation Eraser’, a federal-state crackdown on fraudulent credit repair companies. The FTC alleged that all of the defendants operated deceptive credit repair schemes by promising consumers that they could restore their creditworthiness for a fee. The settlements announced yesterday included: Nationwide Credit Information Service, Inc. (NJ); Credit Corporation of America, Inc. and Credit Advisors, Inc., (LA); Cornerstone Wealth Corp. (TX); and Credit Report Counselors (OH). The FTC also issued a final order against Compass Northeast Credit Service (SC). As part of “Operation Eraser,” 31 companies were targeted by federal and state law enforcement agencies.

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Motorola Exits Card Chip Biz

San Jose-based Atmel Corp. announced Thursday it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to acquire the Smart Information Transfer business of the Semiconductor Products Sector of Motorola, Inc.. The proposed transaction does not affect Motorola’s other smart card-related businesses, such as its Worldwide Smartcard Solutions Division, which will continue to provide total smart card solutions to a diverse range of industries. The deal is expected to close by mid-year.

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BannerDirect Hires McIntosh

BannerDirect of New York, NY, announced today that Richard McIntosh had been named account manager.  This announcement coincides with the announcement of two other newly created positions.  As account manager, Mr. McIntosh will be reporting to Susan Lasley, senior vice president, and director of marketing.  Richard’s twenty years of diverse experience in sales, business development and financial marketing give him the perfect background for this new position,” says Ms. Lasley.

Based in NewYork, NY, Mr. McIntosh will be responsible for marketing, account management and sales for financial institutions and for developing new business categories in the communications, retail, and entertainment markets.

“BannerDirect is poised to expand it strategies marketing expertise in new and exciting categories,” said Christine Fontana, president.  “Richard will be a vital asset to our expansion.”

Richard McIntosh’s prior positions include vice president, operations for Citicorp, N.A. where he helped develop the introduction of ATMs to the consumer market, Senior account management positions at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles; and, account executive for Johnson and Vicks Chemical Corp. and E.F. Hulton among others.  He received his B.S. in Economics from New York University.  Mr McIntosh currently resides in New York City.

BannerDirect is a full-service direct marketing agency for financial, entertainment, and retail companies.  The majority of its business has been to develop response marketing via direct mail, specifically for the credit card industry.  This includes acquisition, activation, stimulation, retention and general communication programs.  It specializes in bringing co-branded and affinity cards to the public and in developing both business-to consumer and business-to-business marketing plans.  The company is currently in the process of expanding its base of clients in different industries.  Its executive offices are in New York, NY.  Production coordination and fulfillment are managed from BannerDirect’s Wilmington, NC, office.  Banner’s sales offices are in Milwaukee, WI; Houston, TX; and Carson City, NV.

Los Angeles-based PayPoint Electronic Payment Systems, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARCO, is a leading national electronic transaction processor and a pioneer in retail electronic payment systems.  PayPoint introduced one of the first domestic point-of-sale debit processing capabilities at ARCO retail locations in 1984 and today continues to provide comprehensive payment solutions that reflect the quality, innovation and cost efficiency that are the core of PayPoint’s retail heritage.

Verifone, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Company, is the leading global provider of secured electronic payment solutions for financial institutions, payment solutions, which are used in over 100 countries.

For additional information contact: PayPoint Sales, 1-877-4PAYPRO, Paul Langland, ARCO Products Company, (213) 486-3181, or Christi Kirisits, Marketing Specialist, Verifone, (770) 754-3621.  You can also visit our respective web sites ate and on the internet.

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Diebold Update

Diebold, Incorporated announced a board action adopting a shareholder rights plan that provides for rights to be issued to shareholders of record on February 11, 1999.  The new plan replaces Diebold’s existing rights plan that will expire on February 10, 1999.

“This action was taken after long and careful study,” said Robert W. Mahoney, chairman, president and chief executive officer.  “Like the company’s existing rights plan, the new plan is intended to protect the company and its shareholders from potentially coercive takeover practices or takeover bids that are inconsistent with the interests of the company and its other constituents.”

Under the plan, the rights will initially trade together with the common stock and will not be exercisable.  In the absence of further board action, the rights generally will become exercisable and allow the holder to acquire common stock at a discounted price if a person or group acquires 20 percent or more of the outstanding shares of Diebold’s common stock.  Rights held by persons who exceed the applicable threshold will be void. In certain circumstances, the rights will entitle the holder to buy shares in an acquiring entity at a discounted price.

The plan also includes an exchange option.  In general, after the rights become exercisable, the Board of Directors may, at its option, effect an exchange of part or all of the rights — other than rights that have become void — for shares of Diebold’s common stock.  Under this option, Diebold would issue one share of common stock for each right, subject to adjustment in certain circumstances.

Diebold’s Board of Directors may, at its option, redeem all rights for $.01 per right, generally at any time prior to the rights becoming exercisable.  The rights will expire on February 11, 2009, unless earlier redeemed, exchanged or amended by the Board of Directors.

The issuance of the rights is not a taxable event, will not affect Diebold’s reported financial condition or results of operations (including earnings per share) and will not change the way in which Diebold’s common stock is currently traded.

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 revenues 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 .

Diebold Also Announces Dividend Increase

The Board of Directors of Diebold, Incorporated today declared a first-quarter cash dividend of 15 cents per share on all common shares payable Friday, March 12 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Friday, February 19.  The new cash dividend, which represents 60 cents per share on an annual basis, is a 7 percent increase over the cash dividend paid in 1998.  This is the 46th consecutive year that Diebold has increased its cash dividend.

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 revenues 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 .

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MAC Glitch

EPS reported on Tuesday, Jan. 26, the MAC Network identified an isolated incident that affected certain cardholders who performed transactions between 12:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday, January 25. The company said the problem affected less than one-half of one percent of MAC cardholders and less than 4% of MAC financial institutions, located primarily along the East Coast. MAC said the problem caused cardholders’ transactions being posted more than once to their bank accounts. However  EPS says by Wednesday all affected financial institutions had the information necessary to correct their cardholder accounts.

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TU to HK

Trans Union confirmed Thursday it has bought a majority interest in Credit Information Services, the leading and largest consumer credit bureau in Hong Kong.  Simultaneously, Dun & Bradstreet has also bought a stake in CIS.  Trans Union expects the country’s largest banks, Hong Kong Bank and Hang Seng Banks, to participate in contributing credit information to CIS, making it the first complete Central Consumer Credit Reference Agency in Hong Kong.

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BannerDirect Hires Strategic Manager

Banner Direct of New York, NY, is pleased to name Rosalyn Piecka to fill the new position of strategic development manager starting January 26, 1999.  The new position was created in order to keep pace with growth plans and to take advantage of BannerDirect’s new opportunities.  Ms. Piecka will be reporting to Susan Lasley, senior vice president, and director of marketing.  “Rosalyn’s been a direct marketing professional for eight years, and her managerial experience in customer service and program development make her perfect candidate for this new position,” says Ms. Lasley.

Based in Milwaukee, WI, Ms. Piecka will be responsible for account management and supplemental support in developing strategic and creative recommendations for existing and potential clients.

“BannerDirect is a team of marketing professionals who work closely in partnership with each of our clients, to achieve successful cost efficient direct marketing strategies,” said Christine Fontana, President.  “Rosalyn will be a key player on this team.”

Rosalyn Piecka’s prior positions include senior direct marketing specialist for mellon bank’s consumer lending and affinity marketing as well as direct mail specialist for pnc bank’s marketing services.  She was also two-limes recipient of the Mellon Premier Achievement award.  Ms. Piecka relocated from Pittsburgh, PA to Greenfield, WI.

BannerDirect, Inc. Was founded in 1990 as an agency devoted primarily to direct response marketing for financial, entertainment, oil, and retail industries.  As a full-service direct marketing agency, the majority of BannerDirect’s business has been to develop response marketing via direct mail, with a concentration on the credit card industry-from acquisition, to product fulfillment, to incentives for activation and usage.  It specializes in bringing co-branded and affinity cards to the public, and in developing both business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing plans.  BannerDirect is ever expanding its base of clients in different industries and exciting new categories.  The company is geographically positioned to meet the needs of its client based with corporate headquarters in New York City, Production management headquarters in Wilmington (NC), and account management offices in Milwaukee (WI), New York City, and Carson City (NV)

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QuikCash

Casino specialist Global Cash Access said Wednesday it will roll-out, within the next sixty days, a stand-alone credit card cash advance terminal that also offers POS debit to gaming patrons. ‘QuikCash’ features a Hypercom terminal with a touch screen and utilizing a client-server platform. ‘QuikCash’ is also smart card ready. In advance of the national roll-out to all 1,000+ GCA customer properties, Bally’s Atlantic City and the Claridge Casino Hotel in Atlantic City have installed and are using the new terminals. GCA was formed in mid-1998 through a joint venture of Bank of America, First Data Corporation and USA Processing, Inc. The company provides EFT services to more than 1,200 gaming properties nationwide.

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TRM ATM Deal

Portland, OR-based TRM Corp. announced yesterday it has signed a major agreement to be the exclusive ATM provider for The Pantry and Lil’ Champ convenience store chain. Once fully implemented, the seven-year agreement represents potential ATM installations at 1,100 locations and revenue for TRM of more than $10 million per year.  The Pantry and Lil’ Champ is the fastest growing major convenient store chain in the country with heavy store concentrations in NC, SC and FL. The current brand names for the stores include “The Pantry,” “Lil’ Champ,” “Quick Stop,” “QS,” “Express Stop,” “Dash N,” “Smokers Express” and “Sprint.”  In addition to its ATM services, TRM provides self-service convenience photocopy centers to a variety of retail establishments throughout North America and Europe, a total of 31,000 photocopy centers worldwide.

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Telstra Exec to GCA

Managing Director of Australia’s Telstra Payphone and Card Services, Mr John Stanton, has been elected to the board of the Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA), an international organisation which is developing global standards for smart card technology. Telstra is a principal member of the GCA.

Mr Stanton is currently overseeing Australia’s largest commercial introduction of smart card technology, as part of Telstra’s national rollout of new smart Payphone and smart Phonecard technology, which commenced in September 1997. In a global context, the Telstra smart card rollout has been one of the largest, accomplished in a tight time frame, with 10 million smart cards in the Australian market. A pilot retail application of Telstra’s smart card technology in Adelaide, South Australia, has been announced, and will commence in the first quarter of 1999.

Mr Stanton holds an MBA from Macquarie University, and has worked for Telstra for nearly 9 years. He was recently appointed to his present position.  His previous roles with Telstra were as General Manager, Americas and Satellite Arrangements, and General Manager, Corporate Relations. His experience will assist  the GCA board as it considers issues of interoperability, privacy, public advocacy, consumer education and security.

Formed in 1996, the main aim of the GCA is as a catalyst for worldwide interoperability of smart card systems, enabling consumers to access their personal applications solutions wherever they are in the world. In the future, this could lead to the international acceptance of Telstra smart Phonecards in GCA compliant systems and vice versa. The shared resources of GCA members will also facilitate better buying power and more research into interoperable system evolution.

The GCA is a strong representative body with regards to standardisation bodies and other influential bodies such as banking organisations. It has 29 members worldwide, comprising telecommunications companies such as Bell Canada, US West Communications, PTT Netherlands and Deutsche Telekom; financial institutions such as Visa and American Express as well as card vendors and card associations. The GCA is driving smart card technology toward a world standard, aiming to ensure international compatibility and reduced infrastructure costs.

Mr Stanton said the GCA has grown rapidly to become a powerful alliance of major global players in the smart card market, and has set a goal of achieving interoperability within 4 years.

“Telstra’s experience in telephony has highlighted the customer benefits of worldwide interoperability,” he said.

“I encourage all other smart card issuers to join this important organisation to help shape industry development, to benefit both the industry and consumers worldwide.”

The Board of the Global Chipcard Alliance (GCA) will meet next in London in late February 1999.

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Tax Volume

Imperial Bank’s Audiotex LLC said yesterday its IRS pilot program to accept credit cards for federal tax payments is up and running. Individual taxpayers can now pay the balance due on their 1998 Form 1640, 1040A or 1040EZ with their credit cards by calling 888/2PAY-TAX. The IRS awarded Audiotex a credit card processing contract last August. U S Audiotex charges a convenience fee to taxpayers who pay their income tax through this program. U S Audiotex, founded in 1986, currently processes credit-card payments for more than 250 counties and cities throughout the country.

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