TNS Signs BB&T

Transaction Network Services announced yesterday that it has signed an agreement with BB&T Corp. to provide enhanced ATM technology and transaction transport services. BB&T has more than 740 ATMs currently in service. BB&T will use the TNS ‘TransXpress 1000’ modem and the TNS ‘Host Interface Processor’ to convert approximately 250 ATMs from multi-drop leased lines to a dial-up network. The ‘TransXpress’ modems convert leased line ATMs to alternative communication access methods by replacing the existing modem at the ATM.

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Sumx Investor

Britton & Koontz Capital Corporation announced Thursday the acquisition of a thirty-five percent interest in Sumx Inc., an Internet banking software and service provider located in Madison, Mississippi and Dallas, Texas for $1 million. Sumx, formerly InterBank Systems, Inc., was founded in January, 1996 by Summit Research, Inc., a software engineering firm and Bazile R. Lanneau, Jr., Vice President of Britton & Koontz Capital, to develop an Internet banking system for Britton & Koontz First National Bank, Britton & Koontz Capital’s wholly owned subsidiary.  The SumxNet Online Banking system enables financial institutions’ customers to view account balances, transfer funds, pay bills, order checks and, where available, view check images.  In addition to consumer bill payment, SumxNet also provides cash management services that include ACH origination and returns, Electronic Federal Tax Payment System submission, wire transfer, secure messaging and memo posting for up-to-the-minute account updates.  Britton & Koontz’ investment will fund marketing and the service bureau implementation of SumxNet.  Sumx can be located at on the Internet and at 601-856-1736 in Madison, Mississippi.

Britton & Koontz Capital Corporation, headquartered in Natchez, Mississippi, is the parent company of Britton & Koontz First National Bank which operates three full service offices in Natchez.  As of September 30, 1998, the Company reported assets of $175.4 million and equity of $19.2 million.  The Company’s stock is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol BKBK and the transfer agent is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company.  Total shares outstanding at September 30, 1998, amounted to 1,767,064.

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Jeep ATM

ARCO mini-market customers who use one of the 680 KeyBank ATM’s across California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona can enter to win a 1999 Jeep Wrangler in KeyBank’s  “KEY TO YOUR CAR SWEEPSTAKES!”. In addition to the car contest, ARCO customers using the ATM have a one in three chance of becoming an instant winner of a 32oz. soft drink. The KeyBank sweepstakes runs until Jan. 4. Following their ATM transaction, interested customers can sign up to win by printing out an entry form. While waiting for a transaction to finish, the ATM screen could also flash an instant soft drink winner award.

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Xmas Checkwriting Slows

With the explosion in debit card use Americans are writing less checks this holiday season. TeleCheck Services reported this week that same-store sales for the first ten days of the holiday shopping period were only up 2.2% over the same period last year. The data are based on a same-store comparison of the dollar volume of authorized checks written by consumers at more than 27,000 of TeleCheck’s 200,000 subscribing locations. Checks account for about one-third of retail spending. For the first ten days of the holiday period, the Midwest region led the nation with a 3.6% increase. Other regions: Southeast (+2.7%),  Southwest (+2.1%),  Mid-Atlantic (+1.9%), Northeast (+1.7%) and the West (+1.2%).

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GM Corp Card

General Motors made it official Thursday that it is consolidating all employee corporate charge cards into a single, multifunctional Citibank card supported by a single expense summary and management system. The new corporate card solution will be Intranet based. GM expects the program to be fully functional within one year and projects it will save 93%, or $3.7 million over current processes, by eliminating costs associated with the handling of paper expense reports. The move will be the largest corporate charge card initiative in the world involving 100,000 GM and Delphi employees in North America. GM currently uses a total of eight different cards for four business processes including: corporate travel; telephone calls; fleet purchases; and indirect material purchases. Citibank’s e-Citi Group won the contract and will team with Captura Software of Bothell, WA, to provide the global Intranet-based system. GM says it will expand the program internationally after the North American phase is completed.

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MBNA-EarthLink

MBNA confirmed Thursday it has signed EarthLink, a large Internet service provider, to a multi-year affinity card deal. The MBNA-issued card will be marketed to EarthLink’s more than 815,000 members. The ‘EarthLink MBNA’ credit card program will earn EarthLink members rewards at the EarthLink Mall when the card is used for online purchases and certain in-store transactions. Headquartered in Pasadena, CA, EarthLink provides Internet access and hosting solutions to thousands of communities internationally from more than 1,700 points of presence. EarthLink and Sprint jointly launched a phone services and credit card program in 1992.

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NSA Smart Card

Atmel Corp. Thursday announced its participation in the Forte’ Project led by Litronic in partnership with the National Security Agency.

Atmel will deliver a 32-bit ARM-based Smart Card chip design that includes a high-speed Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface, high capacity EEPROM, ROM and several different hardware encryption engines among other features. Atmel was chosen by Litronic for its ability to combine multiple technologies into a system level integration solution for the next generation FORTEZZA cards currently used by the U.S. government.

Placing the features of the FORTEZZA system on a Smart Card is much more cost effective than the PCMCIA cards in use today. No other Smart Card chip design integrates as many functional features as the Forte’ design. This chip is the first to offer practical on-board bulk or stream encryption. It is the first single chip Smart Card solution to provide FIPS 140-1 level 3 security, high performance multiple encryption technology, and multi-application support.

The Forte’ chip will leverage Atmel’s superior EEPROM technology to provide high memory density combined with a large ROM capacity other logic and analog structures to essentially form a system-on-a-chip for multi-application use.

The Atmel device incorporates cryptographic engines including a fast-math coprocessor for RSA and DSA function, Atmel’s proprietary DES engine and a newly developed SkipJack engine. Atmel has integrated a randomizer that was developed in concert with the NSA, allowing true random number generation for more secure key generation. Atmel will provide all product hardware development and manufacturing within U.S. borders; Litronic will provide the firmware, also developed here in the United States.

Bob Gray, vice president of product development for Litronic said, “Atmel is enabling industry leaders like Litronic to extend our leadership in high-growth markets. Atmel’s expertise with regard to reducing system costs and complexity while speeding our time to market was a key factor in selecting them for this project. In addition, the design work on the device is provided by engineering support solely from Atmel’s design center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.”

Litronic provides multi-platform, standards-based security environments for government and commercial users. This total security solution includes software, enabling toolkits, supporting hardware, and professional services.

With more than eight years of experience providing innovative information security solutions, Litronic is an industry leader in the development and implementation of security technologies in the commercial and governmental sectors. For detailed company and product information visit the Litronic web site at [www.litronic.com][1].

The National Security Agency (NSA) Information Systems Security Organization (ISSO), network Security Group, is tasked with enabling network security solutions for its DOD customers. Project Forte’ reaffirms NSA’s commitment to enabling solutions that provide a broad range of cost, performance, and security trade-offs as well as support for its customers who have the need to communicate with business, government and financial sectors.

Participating with industrial partners in a technology-sharing venture such as this allows the Government to address its short-term interoperability needs while contributing to the robustness of COTS security products.

Founded in 1984, Atmel Corp. is headquartered in San Jose, with principal manufacturing facilities in Colorado Springs, Nantes and Rousset, France and Heilbronn, Germany.

Atmel designs, manufactures and markets on a worldwide basis advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory, and RF semiconductors. Atmel is also a leading provider of system level integration semiconductor solutions using advanced CMOS, BiCMOS, BiPolar and SiGe process technologies.

Atmel product and financial information are available from its Fax-on-Demand service. In North America call 800/292-8635 or Internationally, call 408/441-0732. Requests may be made via e-mail to [literature@atmel.com][2] or by visiting Atmel’s website at [www.atmel.com][3].

[1]: http://www.litronic.com
[2]: mailto:literature@atmel.com
[3]: http://www.atmel.com

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Cardxx Merger

Cardxx Inc., developer of a new, proprietary smartcard and intelligent tag production process, Wednesday announced its merger with International Interchange Corp. Cardxx manufactures smartcards for card issuers utilizing a process that securely encapsulates silicon microprocessors and/or antennae within a plastic card. The Cardxx manufacturing system utilizes a unique low pressure, room temperature production process. Because the process does not use high temperatures or pressures associated with the lamination process, the resulting encapsulated devices are not subjected to stresses which can adversely affect the performance of the card. Cardxx says its cards have a longer life, cannot be delaminated, contain 60% less PVC, take dye sublimation printing extremely well, and customers report that the cards have 10 to 25% greater read range.

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Loan Scam

The Federal Trade Commission has charged Franklin Credit Services, Inc., Amansco Credit Services, Inc., and the companies’ principal owner, with falsely representing to consumers that they would receive a low-interest, debt consolidation loan for a one time fee of $295. Consumers never received a loan according to the FTC, and instead were offered a bill paying service that required them to pay an additional fee. The FTC has sought a restraining order temporarily halting the alleged deceptive practices and imposing an asset freeze on the defendants.

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TIKITBOX Expands

The Pathways Group, Inc. announced that it has signed a system evaluation agreement with privately-held Enchanted Parks, Inc.  The agreement calls for the installation of the Company’s TIKITBOX II unattended ticketing and smart card kiosk system at Enchanted Parks’ Wild Waves and Enchanted Village water and amusement park located in Federal Way, Washington.

The agreement provides for the Company installing its unattended ticketing system on an evaluation basis for operation during the Christmas holiday promotion and, upon the conclusion of the evaluation, gives Enchanted Parks, Inc., the option for a rollout of several kiosks throughout the park in time for their main season opening in May 1999.

Carey F. Daly II, Chairman and President of The Pathways Group, Inc. said, “Our TIKITBOX(TM) II product continues to experience a high rate of interest and acceptance.  As evidenced by the installations we have signed or completed to date, the systems features are attractive to a number of different sizes and types of venues in the ski and amusement industry.”

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.

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WorldSpy

WorldSpy Corporation yesterday launched WorldSpy (), a premier online research and shopping service. WorldSpy empowers consumers to review and compare products and purchase a variety of name brand merchandise directly from manufacturers at significant savings. By disintermediating the supply chain and squeezing costs from the traditional retail system – and providing important value-adds such as free shipping, unbiased product information and secure credit card transactions – WorldSpy has created the first consumer e-commerce exchange – an information and shopping “microportal.”

“WorldSpy’s consumer e-commerce exchange model successfully melds two of the Internet’s most powerful capabilities – research and commerce – and provides significant value to both manufacturers and consumers,” said Alan Clingman, co-founder and CEO of WorldSpy. “For manufacturers, WorldSpy is the means by which they can outsource all or part of their e-commerce requirements, overcoming the challenges of direct-to-consumer product fulfillment and order processing. For consumers, WorldSpy offers dynamic and well organized product reviews, comparative data and general shopping tips with the added benefit of being able to purchase merchandise directly through our site at competitive prices.”

With a full consumer roll-out expected in the first quarter of 1999, WorldSpy officially unveiled its powerful research and comparison capabilities in time for the 1998 holiday buying season. WorldSpy will soon offer consumers the ability to purchase products from such well-known manufacturers as IBM, Brother, Trillion Diamonds and The Benefactory (toys) – with more to come.

To help consumers make intelligent purchasing decisions, WorldSpy has entered into an agreement with Consumers Digest, giving consumers access to a vast, constantly updated database of “Best Buy” product listings. To drive traffic to the site, WorldSpy has entered into a long-term partnership with Lycos, where WorldSpy is showcased as a premier research and shopping resource in several of Lycos’ popular Web guides ([www.lycos.com][1]).

WorldSpy is the first e-commerce concern to fully integrate software, data processing and product fulfillment for Fortune 1000 companies. The company has entered into a warehouse management and distribution agreement with UPS/Worldwide Logistics. As its merchant processor, WorldSpy uses Old Kent Merchant Services, a joint venture between Old Kent Bank and First Data Merchant Services Corporation, one of the nation’s largest credit card transaction processors. These relationships allow WorldSpy to offer manufacturers a seamless e-commerce solution.

Unique Approach to E-Commerce

As former commodity traders, WorldSpy’s founders have mastered every stage of supply chain logistics including processing, financing, warehousing and distribution, and have applied their extensive knowledge to online shopping. Following the commodoties exchange model, where end-users buy goods directly from suppliers, WorldSpy’s consumer e-commerce exchange allows consumers to purchase products directly from manufacturers.

“We were witness to the continuous disintermediation of the supply chain that was brought about through the efficient flow of information. The Internet will do for consumer goods what Reuters and Bloomberg did for commodities and the financial markets – make the market more efficient,” said Henry Schachar, co-founder, president and COO of WorldSpy, and former president of Philipp Bros., then the world’s largest commodities firm.

Benefits for Manufacturers and Consumers

WorldSpy’s unique approach to online comparison shopping results in a long list of benefits for both manufacturers and consumers:

Manufacturers Consumers

— End-to-end e-commerce solution — Unbiased product reviews and information — Improved profit margins — Powerful research and comparison capabilities — Shorter logistics cycles — Free shipping — Direct to consumer fulfillment — Secure online transactions — Direct credit card payments — Convenience of online shopping — Targeted branding opportunities — Highly social environment — Elimination of credit risk — Three-day shipping anywhere in the USA

What’s On WorldSpy?

Consumers can browse through WorldSpy’s Pavilions or use its search capabilities to find and compare hundreds of thousands of products. WorldSpy will continue to add new products and Pavilions on a regular basis.

Now Available on WorldSpy Coming Soon

— Home Electronics — Computers/SOHO — Jewelry & Watches — Health & Beauty — Appliances — Home Store — Luggage & Accessories — Handyman/Do It Yourself — Toys & Games — Garden Center (Research only; shopping coming soon) — Sports Equipment & Fitness Accessories  — Factory Bargains

Online Shopping “Intelligence”

WorldSpy’s powerful shopping “intelligence” capabilities let consumers efficiently research and compare hundreds of thousands of products, whether available for purchase on WorldSpy or not, giving shoppers the incentive to visit WorldSpy first. In addition to Consumers Digest’s library of “Best Buy” product reviews, the site provides quick and easy access to public information and real user feedback from its message boards and chat rooms. WorldSpy will add additional sources of consumer product information on an ongoing basis.

Once consumers have researched a specific product category, they can conduct side-by-side feature comparisons on similar products to determine which product best suits their needs and provides the best value for their money. The “compare” function opens an HTML window that can be manipulated in a table chart to highlight specific products or eliminate unwanted data (an optional Java version for supporting browsers will be available soon). Once created, these comparison charts can be saved for later review.

Secure Online Transactions

To give consumers peace of mind, WorldSpy has created a secure, private network for online credit card transactions. In addition to establishing a dedicated connection to First Data Merchant Services, WorldSpy uses a proprietary encryption technology and Secure Socket Layering (SSL), which is used by many banks and credit providers. Credit card proceeds go directly to the manufacturer’s accounts, not to WorldSpy.

Shopping Made Easy

To purchase available products through WorldSpy, consumers place items in their “shopping cart,” click “checkout” and complete the shipping and payment form. Items from more than one manufacturer or Pavilion can be purchased in a single transaction. After receiving an order, WorldSpy’s automated system immediately processes the user’s credit card for authorization. The designated warehouse draws the items from inventory and puts them into the delivery system for prompt delivery, normally within three business days. If an item is out of stock, WorldSpy will notify the customer via e-mail when it is available, and will not process the credit card transaction until the product has shipped.

Online Shopping . . . A Social Experience

Since shopping is a highly social activity, WorldSpy encourages visitors to “compare notes” by sharing their shopping experiences and product comments, questions and concerns with other users in WorldSpy’s community message boards and live chat rooms. As an added value, WorldSpy will offer personalized shopping recommendations, special promotions, a gift registry and advisory service, e-mail notification on requested products of interest, and reminders of important dates.

About WorldSpy

Founded in Ardsley, New York in 1997, WorldSpy Corporation was created to make online shopping more efficient. When the company’s founders applied their extensive knowledge of the commodities trading industry to a typical online shopping model, WorldSpy.com – the Internet’s first consumer e-commerce exchange – was born.

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

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