Excite, Inc. unveiled ‘Excite Express Order’ yesterday, a simple e-commerce purchasing solution which functions as a virtual credit card wallet for consumers.The broad initiative will be supported by Excite’s preferred payment sponsor, MasterCard, with national broadcast and print advertising aimed at educating consumers about online shopping. MasterCard will launch an updated version of its Internet shopping television advertisement which debuted during NBC’s final episode of “Seinfeld.” The commercial, which is a continuation of MasterCard’s award-winning “Priceless Campaign” invites consumers to use their MasterCard cards for shopping on the Internet and to buy gifts at the Holiday Shoppe by ‘searching Holiday on Excite.’ Related print advertisements will also run in USA Today.


VeriFone FleetOne

VeriFone, Inc., the leading global provider of secure electronic payment solutions, announced that FleetOne de Mexico, a subsidiary of Williams Company Inc, has selected VeriFone point-of-sale (POS) payment terminals for deployment at gas stations in Mexico.

This implementation represents the first nationwide deployment of electronic payment technology in Mexican gas stations, and will give consumers the convenience and safety of a pre-paid card solution.

FleetOne de Mexico and ONEXPO (National Association of Gas Stations) signed an agreement in which FleetOne de Mexico will provide card technology for more than 4,000 gas stations country wide in 1999. FleetOne also signed an agreement with PEMEX Refinacion to allow FleetOne and ONEXPO to implement this new technology solution in Mexico. FleetOne de Mexico selected VeriFone to deliver POS solutions for the deployment, and the companies have already initiated a successful pilot in which VeriFone terminals were implemented in 100 gasoline stations.

“This implementation represents a major evolution at the point of sale for gas stations in Mexico, and requires flexible, proven technology,” said Lic. Gloria Albarran, Director at FleetOne de Mexico. “VeriFone is the world leader and a trusted name for electronic payment solutions for the point of sale. We also see technology innovation from VeriFone that will allow us to evolve the systems with smart cards and new applications.”

“In the past, drivers in Mexico have been limited to cash when it comes to paying for gas,” said Fernando Lopez, General Manager at VeriFone Mexico. “With this new solution and the FleetOne and ONEXPO agreement, consumers and gas stations will no longer be required to face the fear and risks of carrying money for cash-only payment for gas, and will gain the added benefit of loyalty points.”

The solution being deployed in Mexico includes VeriFone’s OMNI 395 payment terminal, the P350 printer, and the PINpad 450, personal identification number entry device, as well as locally developed software. Fleet managers will set up pre-paid and corporate debit accounts and acquire GASOPLUS-branded cards from FleetOne de Mexico to allow members to charge purchases at stations. Gas stations will also issue pre-paid cards to general consumers that can be re-loaded at the stations.

As an added benefit, customers will be rewarded for gasoline purchases by earning loyalty points for travel with American Airlines. And, as the program migrates to chip cards from magnetic stripe, other applications will be added, including loyalty programs from specific gas stations.

FleetOne de Mexico, a wholly-owned Mexican subsidiary of The Williams Companies Inc., is an energy and high technology manufacturer, with more than 90 years of existence internationally. It was formed to provide products and services to vehicle users at a national level.

ONEXPO is an association of approximately 2,500 gas stations in Mexico.

VeriFone, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Company, is the leading global provider of secure electronic payment solutions for financial institutions, merchants and consumers. VeriFone has shipped more than six million electronic payment systems, which are used in over 100 countries.


CheckLine UK Solution

The UK’s Checkline plc has installed a unique payment system that involves online credit card authorization during channel crossings combined with the transfer of payment data via GSM to a head office system in Dover.

SeaFrance’s GBP 25 million per year credit card transactions from on-board retail operations were previously processed through a French bank. However the majority of this business was through UK credit cards. This led SeaFrance to look to Checkline for an alternative solution that allowed processing via a UK bank enabling a substantial cost reduction and improved service to customers.

Checkline has provided its SMART EFT solution, which links a series of Checkline EFT terminals. These are installed at point-of-sales locations such as duty free outlets on-board the ships.

The Checkline system allows SeaFrance to perform online authorisation of all credit card transactions. This is achieved through a specially mounted antenna on the ship that enables communication via Vodafone’s PAKNET data network.

When the ferry is docked at Dover or Calais, the transaction data is transferred, via GSM, to a head office system in Dover, which submits the data to the bank for payment. Checkline ‘is a pioneer of GSM payment solutions that enable merchants to accept payments anywhere, anytime.

“We are delighted with the new Checkline system and so are our customers” comments Robin Wilkins, SeaFrance’s Managing Director. This project highlights Checkline’s ability to deliver payment solutions tailored towards solving customer specific problems.


Best Bank Fallout

The principals involved in the failure of sub-prime bank credit card issuer Best Bank are facing the music as a federal judge is expected to rule this week on a civil complaint filed by the FDIC Oct. 29. The FDIC is seeking to freeze the personal assets of the bank’s principals as well as the assets of the principals who ran the card marketing program. Yesterday publicly-traded Columbia Capital Corp. confirmed that the company’s chairman along with another director resigned from the company last week. The two executives involved own approximately 80% of Columbia’s outstanding stock. Columbia Capital Corp., through its wholly owned subsidiary First Independent Computers, Inc., provides information and transaction processing to small and medium sized financial institutions. It’s major client was CO-based Best Bank. Neither Columbia nor its operating subsidiary, First Independent Computers were named in the FDIC litigation. FDIC seized Best Bank in July after a review showed the bank was grossly undercapitalized due to its extraordinary growth in sub-prime credit card portfolio. The FDIC is seeking in excess of $300 million in damages.


AmEx Restaurant Card

American Express and the National Restaurant Association rolled-out the ‘National Restaurant Association Card from American Express’ yesterday. The a no-fee affinity credit card carries the look and logo of the National Restaurant Association, as well as American Express branding and is accepted everywhere ‘American Express Cards’ are welcome. Among card program features: savings and value-added offers from Continental Airlines, 800-SEND-FTD, Mobil Speedpass, J&R Music and Computer World; an exclusive AmEx travel desk for cardholders offering preferentially priced rates on hotels, car rentals and vacation packages; complimentary consultations from AmEx Financial Advisors; a 5.9% intro rate; credit lines up to $35,000; automatic credit insurance for disability, unemployment and death. The National Restaurant Association represents 800,000 outlets with an aggregate workforce of 10.2 million.



The University of Hawaii and MBNA launched the ‘UH’ affinity credit card Monday. The no-fee card will be marketed to UH alumni and students to benefit the UH Manoa Athletics program. UH will received card revenue based on charge volume. As part of the overall agreement, NBC affiliate KHNL and KFVE TV will provide UH with video production services and air time and ensure continuance of the weekly “UH Today” segment produced jointly by UH and KHNL and broadcast on the morning news. UH Manoa is a Honolulu-based research university and is the largest of the 10 campuses that comprise the University of Hawaii system. MBNA has more than 500 affinity programs with colleges and universities.



VeriFone and Lockheed Martin IMS announced one of the largest rollouts of POS equipment for EBT payments yesterday. Both companies signed a seven year service agreements whereby VeriFone will install and maintain up to 50,000 of their POS systems in 15 states. Over the next 18 months, VeriFone will install systems consisting of the ‘Tranz 330’ and ‘Tranz 340’ terminals, ‘Printer 250’ and the ‘Pin Pad 101’ security device in retail locations accepting paper-based EBT coupons. So far approximately 100,000 VeriFone point of sale solutions have been deployed nationwide specifically to help merchants accept EBT payment.


Xmas Online

VISA released a survey yesterday revealing that 46% of respondents who plan to shop this holiday season said they plan to buy some of their gifts online. Of those, 60% will be making their maiden holiday shopping voyage on the Internet. The NFO Research study also found that 29% said they are most likely to shop online for their kids this holiday season and 86% of online shoppers have a specific product in mind when they shop online. For this holiday, clothes and books top the list with 24% specifying clothes as the top priority; 20% expect to buy books; 11% will buy toys online, and 9% will be seeking to buy CDs on the Internet. Citing the convenience of the Internet the VISA poll found that 60% have shopped in their pajamas, 84% have shopped with their shoes off and 36% have shopped while eating a meal. Night owls are the dominant category with more than 45% doing their online shopping weekdays between 5 p.m. and midnight and 4% between midnight and 9 a.m.


ARKSYS Acquired

Euronet Services Inc. said it has signed an agreement to acquire ARKSYS for approximately $18 million in cash. The company is a computer software company specializing in electronic payment and transaction delivery systems based in Arkansas. ARKSYS is the key upstream software provider to Euronet’s ATM transaction processing center in Central Europe. ARKSYS has installed software systems in over 60 countries for more than 150 other active clients in the retail banking sector. Last year ARKSYS had revenues of $11.4 million. Euronet said yesterday that the addition of ARKSYS to Euronet’s ATM network business will enable the company to offer a vertically-integrated and higher-value product to retail banks.


Hibernia CreditFYI

The newest on-line financial service available on Hibernia’s Internet site ([www.hiberniabank.com][1]) can help small businesses make quick, accurate and informed decisions about extending credit to their business customers.

From the Hibernia Web site, users can link directly to CreditFYI(SM), an Internet service developed by Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc., and Net Earnings. Through CreditFYI, small businesses can obtain immediate credit evaluations of their small-business customers.

Historically, small companies have had to go through the time-consuming and expensive process of obtaining and evaluating lengthy credit reports and other data before deciding whether to extend credit terms to their small-business customers. The new CreditFYI service uses proven credit-scoring technology to evaluate the creditworthiness of small businesses across the U.S.

Each evaluation includes a concise overview of the company’s credit history and highlights, along with an assessment of the customer as relatively low, moderate, high or very high risk. Credit history includes information such as reported tax liens, bankruptcies and late payments to creditors.

Each CreditFYI evaluation costs $14.95, which is billed to the credit card of the customer ordering the evaluation. If enough information on a company is not available to produce an evaluation, a CreditFYI summary shows the available information at a cost of $4.95.

“CreditFYI is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to help small businesses decide whether to extend credit to specific customers,” said Stan Demarest, Small-Business Banking marketing and product manager. “It won’t make the decisions for them, but it will give them the information they need to make better decisions. As a result, it will help many of our customers manage their cash flow better.”

From Hibernia’s Web site, a small-business owner can review a sample evaluation from CreditFYI, gather information about the service, learn about extending credit or order a credit evaluation. Once there, the user only needs to enter the name of the customer for which the evaluation is sought and the state in which the customer is located. In less than a minute, the evaluation or summary will appear on the screen.

Hibernia, a leading provider of innovative business solutions to small businesses, is the only bank in the mid-south, and one of only four financial services companies in the U.S., to offer CreditFYI.

Following completion of pending mergers, Hibernia would be a $13.8-billion-asset banking organization with 253 banking locations in 34 Louisiana parishes and 12 Texas counties. It would be either first, second or third in deposit market share in 32 Louisiana parishes and five Texas counties. Hibernia’s Louisiana markets represent approximately 82% of the state’s population and 86% of its deposits. Its statewide Louisiana deposit share would be 22%.

The company’s common stock (HIB) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Hibernia news releases, product-and-service information and other useful data can be accessed through the company’s Internet site at [www.hiberniabank.com][2]. Requests for information about Hibernia products and services can be e-mailed to [[email protected]][3].

[1]: http://www.hiberniabank.com
[2]: http://www.hiberniabank.com
[3]: mailto:[email protected]


First North American Card Bonds

NationsBanc Montgomery Securities LLC Monday said it priced on November 6, 1998, a $600 million asset-backed issuance by First North American National Bank (“FNANB”) Credit Card Master Trust, Series 1998-1.

The securities are backed by FNANB’s portfolio of VISA/MasterCard credit card receivables.  Series 1998-1 represents the third issuance by FNANB Credit Card Master Trust; Series 1997-1 closed in early ’97 with an aggregate issuance amount of $1 Billion, and Series 1997-2 closed in November ’97 with an aggregate issuance amount of $900 Million.  NationsBanc Montgomery lead managed all three Series.

“FNANB issues ABS paper regularly, at least annually, and this represents their first foray into the ABS markets since turmoil hit the ABS markets in October. This transaction is significant in that the subordinated Class B and Class C Certificates were placed despite relatively adverse market conditions for subordinate paper, at an all-in cost lower to the issuer than other credit enhancement options considered, such as a monoline insurance wrap.  In addition, we found a home for the subordinate Class D Certificates, for a net advance rate against receivables of approximately 98%, said Luis Arnaneda, Principal at NationsBanc Montgomery.”

    Transaction details:

                    Class A    Class B          Class C        Class D
    Amount          $402MM     $90MM            $48MM           $60MM
    Enhance-ment %    33%       18%              10%              2%
                 subordination subordination subordination   subordination
    Index       1-month LIBOR  1-month LIBOR  1-month LIBOR  1-month LIBOR
     maturity       10/15/01    12/15/01         1/15/02        1/15/02
    Legal final
     maturity        2/15/05     2/15/05         2/15/05        2/15/05
    Average life    2.96 yrs    3.13 yrs         3.22 yrs       3.22 yrs
    Distribution      Public      Public           144A          Private
    Spreads            40     not disclosed    not disclosed    not disclosed
    Payment windows soft bullet  soft bullet    soft bullet    soft bullet

NationsBanc Montgomery has served as lead manager on aggregate public, 144a and private-term asset-backed security issuance of over $9 billion in 1998 and has an aggregate asset-backed conduit capacity of $39 billion.

The firm’s banking professionals structure bond transactions both domestically and internationally involving auto loans and leases, trade receivables, marine loans, franchise loans, student loans, recreational vehicles, manufactured housing, collateralized loan and bond obligations, credit card receivables, consumer installment, future flow receivables, home equity loans, and other asset classes.

NationsBanc Montgomery Securities LLC, a subsidiary of Bank of America, is ranked among the top 10 asset-backed senior managers for public and private placement transactions, according to data supplied by Securities Data Co.. The firm has offices in Charlotte; Chicago; Dallas; Hong Kong and London.

Bank of America is the world’s number one bank based on core capital of $47 billion and the largest US-based bank with total assets of $595 billion. As a leading global financial institution with offices in 37 countries, the bank provides capital raising, trading, treasury and credit related services to corporations, financial institutions and governments around the world.