Following nine months of development, Fleet Financial Group unveiled Monday its turnkey web service that offers small businesses a virtual store with secure on-line payment systems. ‘storefronts@fleet’ will also enable established on-line merchants to offer secure credit card payments. Among the services offered by ‘storefronts’: catalog builder, web site development and hosting, registration of the merchant among Internet search engines, site activity reports and key credit card transaction reports. Fleet also provides VeriSign Digital Certificate registration and secure payments with CyberCash. Fleets’ ‘storefronts’ will charge set-up fees ranging from $995 to $1495 and monthly fees ranging from $99 to $249.


Advanta Update

Advanta National Bank, a subsidiary of Advanta Corp., Monday announced that it intends to offer to purchase its outstanding promissory notes (“Bank Notes”) that were not assumed by Fleet Credit Card LLC (“Fleet”) in connection with the acquisition of Advanta Corp.’s consumer credit card business by fleet and certain of its affiliates.

The Bank Notes were issued at various times since July 1993 and at various maturities and rates. Approximately $113 million of these Bank Notes are currently outstanding. ANB expects to commence the offer within the next three weeks.

ANB currently anticipates offering to purchase all such Bank Notes at their par (or face) value plus any accrued and unpaid interest thereon, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions. ANB will use available cash to purchase the Bank Notes and following this purchase will continue to be in a strong position to support its future growth.

Advanta is a highly focused financial services company with 2,200 employees, approximately $6.6 billion in managed assets and an additional $9.2 billion in assets serviced for third parties.

Advanta provides consumers and small businesses with innovative products and services including mortgages, equipment leases, corporate credit cards, insurance and deposit products. The company also provides a full range of loan purchasing, contract servicing and securitization services to the mortgage industry.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected and/or cause the offer described herein not to occur.

The most significant among these risks and uncertainties are: (1) factors that affect consumer debt; (2) competitive pressures; (3) the level of delinquencies and charge-offs; (4) the rate of prepayments; (5) the level of expenses; (6) the timing of the securitizations of receivables of the company and its subsidiaries; and (7) the ratings on the debt of the company and its subsidiaries.

Additional risks that may affect the company’s future performance are detailed in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.


Fla. Pizza Store Goes Wireless

U. S. Wireless Data, Inc. announced Monday that one of the largest Hungry Howie’s Pizza franchisees has begun utilizing U. S. Wireless Data’s proprietary wireless transaction processing solution, the TRANZ Enabler. The Hungry Howie’s franchisee has installed 9 TRANZ Enablers to date, and has given USWDA orders for an additional 40 units to be installed over the next 30 days. U.S. Wireless Data will generate revenues on a recurring basis each time a credit card transaction is executed using the USWDA wireless solution.

Based in Valrico, Florida, Tom Kazbour is one of the largest Hungry Howie’s Pizza franchisees operating 40 Hungry Howie’s throughout the southeast United States. Specializes in pizza and subs, the franchisee has been forced to limit its use of credit cards in the past to a small number of outlets. Adding the credit card payment option for a merchant that utilizes a tradition dial-up credit card terminal means the merchant must incur the cost of adding additional phone lines, or be forced to share existing phone lines within the business environment. For the Hungry Howie’s franchisee, this meant that incoming telephone food orders would compete with the credit card terminals’ outgoing telephone calls to authorize credit card transactions. The result busy signals for customers trying to call in telephone orders, and very slow credit card verifications for the business.

By implementing U.S. Wireless Data’s TRANZ ENABLER wireless solution, Hungry Howie’s can now provide its customers with the option of paying with a credit card. Moreover, Hungry Howie’s is able to execute credit card payments without the added cost of additional telephone lines or tying up other existing phone lines. Throughput and productivity are enhanced as credit card transactions can be completed in less than 5 seconds versus 15 – 20 seconds using traditional dial-up credit card terminals.

Tom Kazbour, Hungry Howie’s franchisee, commented, “We have been searching to find a more efficient method to accept credit cards payments in a timely manner. As a fast food restaurant, we need to keep speed of service as a top priority, while also keeping a close eye on overhead costs. The U.S. Wireless Data wireless transaction processing solution provides the answer. We can now further differentiate ourselves from our competitors, offer a better service to our customers and actually reduce our credit card transactions expenses.”

Commenting on the agreement, Clyde Casciato, Vice President of Sales of U.S. Wireless Data stated, “We view the fast food industry as an explosive and relatively untapped market for our wireless transaction processing solutions. The speed of clearing credit cards using our solutions means that merchants can keep lines moving and optimize productivity.”

USWDA’s proprietary enabling technology, TRANZ(TM) Enabler, converts a merchant’s existing dial-up TRANZ VeriFone credit card terminal into a high-speed wireless terminal. It provides merchants with a faster and more cost efficient way to transact business. The wireless transaction takes 3 to 5 seconds verses 11 to 20 seconds with a dial-up service. Going wireless means the merchant no longer needs a dedicated or shared telephone line to carry transaction traffic, thereby eliminating delays, busy signals and the cost to install or pay for monthly telephone service.

U.S. Wireless Data, Inc. has developed, tested and is now delivering compelling new proprietary products, programs and standards to the transaction processing and credit card industry which utilize Cellular Digital Packet Data (“CDPD”) wireless networks. USWDA delivers the fastest and most cost-effective transaction processing solution to retail merchants in the United States today – wired or wireless. USWDA will generate recurring revenue from every transaction processed by merchants who utilize the Company’s CDPD wireless technology. The Company’s strategy will be to deploy its technology through marketing and partnership agreements with major cellular phone companies, regional and community banks, select ISO’s and its own sales force.


FDFS Formed

Comdata Gaming Services, recently acquired by First Data Corporation announced Monday it has been re-named First Data Financial Services and expanded its services to be a single-source for gaming patron cash access services.

Larry P. Davis has been named president of FDFS. He has more than 25 years of executive management experience with domestic and international business-to-business and consumer services companies.

“First Data Financial Services has a drive to bring innovation to its customers. Being a part of First Data enables us to offer a new level of consumer-preferred platforms for accessing cash at gaming properties,” Davis said.

“Our single-source strategy adds value to the COINS platform that already has been so well received by the industry,” he added.

The company will continue its service of turn-key management and staffing of customers’ financial centers. Through FDFS’s COINS (Casino Operated INformation System) financial transaction and management integration system, gaming customers will have access to already-trusted FDC electronic transaction brands — TeleCheck and Integrated Payment Systems, said Davis.

In addition, FDFS is developing a proprietary consumer-branded point-of-sale (POS) ATM debit/credit network for gaming customers, said Davis.

Acquired in January by FDC, Comdata Gaming Services was already an established leader in providing information management services and handling cash transactions via ATM, credit and debit cards and check cashing for more than 800 gaming customers in North America.

Comdata Gaming Services annually handled more than $3.5 billion in cash transactions at gaming locations.

Hackensack, N.J.-based First Data Corporation is a global leader in payment systems, electronic commerce and information management products and services. First Data and its principal operating units process the information that allows millions of consumers to pay for goods and services by credit, debit or stored-value cards at the point of sale over the Internet; by check or wire money. For further information about the Company, please visit us on the Internet at [][1].



DataCard Sharpens Focus

DataCard Corporation announced Monday that it has created three new strategic units which will focus on worldwide consumer needs and emerging opportunities in the financial, enterprise and healthcare markets.

“The strategy behind this new organization is two-fold,” said Glenn Highland, DataCard’s president and CEO. “First, we want these companies to focus on consumers and emerging markets. They need to be close to the markets in order to develop unique, innovative and effective solutions.”

“Second, we want to create dedicated, passionate teams that aren’t bound by traditional corporate hierarchy,” Highland added. “We want these teams to be able to make decisions and respond to customers and opportunities quickly.”

The three strategic units will include research, development, marketing and sales. They will be supported by worldwide service and manufacturing organizations according to Highland.

Financial company to expand DataCard’s worldwide leadership position

DataCard has created a worldwide leadership position in the financial market over the past 28 years. Financial institutions, retailers and service bureaus use the company’s systems to personalize and package a variety of financial cards–including credit, debit, ATM and stored value cards. Product offerings include both desktop and fully integrated, high-volume systems.

“We intend to provide current customers with more choices, more capabilities and better service through this market oriented company,” said Francois Conchon, president of DataCard’s new financial company.

“Plus, we’re developing innovative, consumer-driven solutions and creating new markets built around products with clear consumer benefits.”

The new solutions will leverage DataCard’s smart card, biometrics and digital imaging strengths. Initial offerings include turnkey smart card solutions for stored value programs, kiosk systems for unattended card issuance and solutions that make it affordable for retail banks to issue photo credit and debit cards in many locations.

“The financial institutions we talk to tell us they need these solutions to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive, global marketplace,” Conchon said. “We expect strong growth in this market through innovation and strategic partnerships.”

Enterprise company to focus on identification and secure access solutions

DataCard has steadily increased its share of the identification market it helped create with the launch of its digital photo ID systems in 1990. Today, these solutions are used to produce employee badges, driver’s licenses, student IDs, membership cards and other secure photo ID cards.

“Our strategic unit will continue to market integrated photo ID systems and sell printers and other photo ID products through our expanding reseller channels,” said Mike Shields, president of DataCard’s enterprise company.

“But much of the growth will come from new solutions that incorporate our digital imaging, biometrics and smart card capabilities,” Shields said. “We expect many of these opportunities to come from corporations, governments, universities and other large enterprises.”

New offerings will include enterprise identification solutions, which allow large, multi-site organizations to create central image databases and use them for a variety of identification and secure access applications. The enterprise company also is developing biometrics-based secure access solutions, which will help organizations restrict access to physical and intellectual property.

“We will develop a number of new solutions,” Shields said. “But the core concept is helping large organizations protect their people, property and profits.”

Healthcare company aims to make healthcare providers more profitable and more competitive

DataCard’s new healthcare company will offer a complete line of software-driven solutions designed to make patient registration, healthcare delivery, eligibility verification and payment processing more convenient for healthcare consumers–and more profitable for healthcare providers. This new line also features solutions that make medical records more secure, while providing easier access for authorized users. Key technologies for this new line of solutions include smart cards, biometrics, magnetic stripe encoding and bar codes.

“The healthcare market is changing. Patients are becoming smarter, more selective healthcare consumers,” said Woody Frost, president of DataCard’s healthcare company. “The solutions we’re creating will give healthcare providers the tools they need to succeed in this consumer-driven environment.”

The company also maintains a long-held leadership position in patient identification systems. Products include card personalization systems with modular embossing, encoding, printing and smart card capabilities.

DataCard is a privately held corporation based in Minneapolis, Minn. The company provides customers around the world with fully integrated solutions for a variety of financial, identification and healthcare applications. In addition to turnkey solutions, the company offers complete lines of digital photo ID systems, photo ID printers, card personalization systems and transaction systems. DataCard employs more than 2,100 people and offers sales and service in more than 90 countries worldwide. ()


FDMS Exec Joins ValiCert Board

ValiCert, a supplier of digital certificate validation software and services, announced Monday that it has appointed Scott J. Loftesness to its board of directors. With more than 25 years of experience in payment services and related information and telecommunications technologies, Loftesness will contribute to ValiCert’s mission to build an infrastructure for ensuring the validity of digital certificates in any environment. This infrastructure encompasses a broad base of technology, products and services that support a comprehensive approach to managing and assuring the validity of digital certificates in secure communications and electronic commerce.

![][1] Currently, Loftesness is group executive, First Data Merchant Systems group at First Data Corporation, a company that provides credit card processing, payment systems, electronic commerce and information-based services to businesses and consumers. Prior to joining First Data in 1994, he held a series of payment systems, systems development and business development positions at Visa International, Fidelity Investments and IBM Corp. Loftesness is also a founder and director of Com21, a supplier of advanced cable modem products and a director of First Virtual Holdings, a supplier of interactive electronic mail marketing services.

“Scott Loftesness brings to ValiCert a depth of knowledge and experience that will help to develop validation, the fundamental missing piece of the PKI infrastructure for enabling secure communications and commerce on the net,” said Yosi Amram, president and CEO of ValiCert. “ValiCert has the technology, people and alliances in place to build the leading solution in this space.”

“I am pleased to join the board of ValiCert,” said Scott Loftesness. “ValiCert’s universal approach to providing open certificate validation software and services to facilitate interoperability across a wide range of systems addresses growing end-user requirements for high integrity data exchange.”

About ValiCert

ValiCert was established in 1996 by a group of leading cryptographers and executives from the Internet services industry to build a broad validation infrastructure for the net economy. ValiCert provides an open and universal framework that delivers an efficient, scalable and interoperable solution for checking the validity of digital certificates in any Internet or intranet transaction. ValiCert has partnerships with leading worldwide providers of security services and products, including Baltimore Technologies, BelSign, Entegrity Solutions, Entrust Technologies, GTE Cybertrust, Netscape Communications, Thawte and others. ValiCert is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. and is available on the World Wide Web at , or by e-mail at [][2].

[1]: /graphic/firstdata/firstdata.jpg


An electronic store for World Cup fans opened yesterday as the result of a joint effort of HP and EDS. ‘’ is multi-lingual and currently offers about 150 World Cup items, soon to be expanded to 400 items. Shoppers must use a credit card for purchases. Upon creating a transaction, a real-time currency conversion takes place along with calculations for global tax and custom charges. Orders are shipped within five days and may be tracked through an on-line link. EDS and HP developed and opened the store in less than three months.


Smart Card Store Opens

Gemplus announced that it has begun direct sales of smart cards, readers and development kits to its customers worldwide through the Gemplus Web Store, a virtual smart card store on the Internet. Gemplus customers can access the Web Store 24-hours a day, seven days a week by simply pointing their browser to [][1]

The Gemplus Web Store, powered by Dover Pacific Computing’s Orders of Magnitude software, has been designed to offer customers the pre-sales information they need, and a simple process for ordering the company’s smart card products. Additionally, the site offers Gemplus customers cost-effective sales transactions, order status, and post-sales support.

The first new product to be offered on the Web Store is the specially priced (US$499) GemXpresso RAD (Rapid Applet Development) kit, a Java Card development environment that includes the GemXpresso applet-prototyping card, the first Java Card 2.0-based smart card implemented on a 32-bit RISC processor.

“The Internet is not only a very effective way for us to be more responsive to our global customers and to work more closely with suppliers, it is also a powerful tool for mainstreaming smart card technology,” said Michel Roux, vice president and general manager of the Gemplus Internet business division. “Both developers and end users, especially in the U.S., will be an increasingly important focus for this store.”

Initial Product Offering

Gemplus is currently making available a range of smart card products through the Web Store that includes:

Smart Card Readers

both serial port and PCMCIA-based

Software Developer Kits

GemXpresso RAD for developing smart card-based applications.

As new products are launched, they will also be made available through the Gemplus Web Store.

“We are pleased that the world’s leading provider of smart card solutions selected our integrated call center and Web store-front technologies to deliver smart cards to their customers,” said Tom Hennings, president and CEO of Dover Pacific Computing ([][2]).

About Gemplus

Gemplus () is the world’s leading provider of conventional and smart card-based solutions. Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.

With sales of over US$585 million in 1997, Gemplus employs more than 4,100 people, in ten manufacturing facilities, five R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in 27 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, and information technology.




VISA is sponsoring the second installment of the new MTV ‘True Life’ series, a weekly television documentary about the lives and concerns of Gen-Xers. The show, entitled “No Money, Mo’ Problems”, will debut April 7 at 10pm. The program will feature an eclectic mix of young Americans in various money management crisis including a Las Vegas dancer working hard to save money to fulfill her desire to become the all-American mom. VISA will direct troubled Gen-Xers to the National Foundation for Consumer Credit at the end of the program.


Bank of Scotland Mondex Program

Bank of Scotland has chosen Amdahl’s Smartcard Group to implement its first smartcard project in Scotland. Amdahl will implement a complete, turnkey solution for the Bank’s Mondex business activities. and has already begun the initial phase of the project at Edinburgh University.

The project provides identification, access control and electronic purse capabilities on a single smartcard, which will be used by students and staff throughout the University’s buildings in Edinburgh. A phased implementation, the system will be operational in April and fully functional for the new student intake in October 1998. It will then be extended to cover more than 25,000 cardholders across the University.

As this is a turnkey solution for Bank of Scotland. Amdahl is providing the project management and integration skills. procurement and technical expertise. in addition to supplying some of the necessary hardware and software for the project. This expertise in integrating different systems and managing large scale projects were among the factors which led the Bank to select Amdahl as its partner for this project.

Commenting on the project, Christine Peace, senior manager for Smartcards Product Development at Bank of Scotland said: “Electronic cash is the next phase in payments systems, taking us into the new millennium. It has many advantages over traditional cash and card systems. and will open up a new world of payment methods by providing people with many more services in their homes, colleges and workplaces.”

“Having evaluated a number of potential partners for the project. we selected Amdahl because their solution was flexible, it could be implemented quickly and effectively. and offered us the potential to use it for other smart card applications.”

Trevor Lafferty, solutions director at Amdahl’s Smartcard Group, is delighted that the Bank opted for Amdahl’s solution. He stated: “Working with Bank of Scotland on the first Mondex application in Scotland is a real achievement for us. Implementing any kind of new technology is a bold move. and it further demonstrates Bank of Scotland’s reputation for the innovative use of new technology, combined with a commitment to reducing costs and improving service to its customers. We’ve already developed a close and highly effective relationship with the Bank, and we’re looking forward to extending this further in the future.”

As one of Scotland’s leading banks. Bank of Scotland has strong connections with other Scottish universities. The successful implementation of the Edinburgh project will act as a blueprint for the Bank to provide similar Mondex applications to other universities in the future.


GemExpresso RAD Unleashed

Gemplus announced yesterday that it is shipping GemXpresso RAD (Rapid Applet Development), a smart card development platform based on Java Card 2.0 and 32-bit RISC processing. GemXpresso RAD enables developers to quickly bring smart card-based electronic commerce, transportation, banking and other applications to market.

GemXpresso’s programming interface is based on the Sun Microsystems Inc. Java Card 2.0 API, the standard for creating Java applets that run on smart cards. The Java platform is an open, object-oriented computing platform that makes it possible for developers to generate and test GemXpresso-based solutions in a few days, enabling competitive product differentiation and lower cost development. The Java platform allows developers to create smart card applications with a new level of interoperability.

GemXpresso RAD speeds up development time by featuring the first object-oriented smart card interface as well as a built-in simulator that allows developers to test applets on their workstations without having to first load them into the smart card. It also provides extensive debugging capabilities that simulates and displays what is occurring inside the “card.”

Prior to GemXpresso, the most advanced smart card was limited to an 8-bit microprocessor. The major advance in processing power that comes with GemXpresso RAD enables developers to optimize the performance of their applications, while providing them with a platform that can quickly scale up to future technologies.

The 32-bit microprocessor also gives smart cards the power they need to run multiple applications — a capability that some experts see as essential to making a strong business case for the implementation of smart card solutions.

“Today’s announcement is a further demonstration of the leadership Gemplus has shown in the development of Java technology-based smart card solutions,” said John Landwehr, director of product marketing for the Gemplus Internet group. “We were pioneers in the development of Java technology-based operating systems, and with GemXpresso RAD, we are the first company to launch a 32-bit Java Card 2.0-based card.”

“The GemXpresso RAD kit truly provides the openness and efficiency of the Java language on a smart card,” said Jon Collinson, head of strategy and business development at British Telecom (BT) consumer mobility. “With this kit, we believe Gemplus has contributed significantly to the viability of the Java platform as a fast and flexible delivery mechanism for future value- added services on smart cards.”

Gemplus will be demonstrating GemXpresso RAD at the JavaOne Conference in its booth (#316), in the Java Technology Town area and the JavaOne Hacker’s Lounge, March 24 – 27, 1998, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. GemXpresso RAD will also be featured in the Gemplus booth at CEBIT (Hall 23-Booth A17), March 19-25, 1998 in Hanover, Germany.

Java Card Forum Co-Founder

As a co-founder of the Java Card Forum, Gemplus provided extensive input and feedback to Sun’s JavaSoft division, while creating the Java Card 2.0 specification. Additionally, Gemplus worked for many years on specifications and the development of an open, modular card operating system through Integrity Arts, the Gemplus subsidiary recently acquired by Sun.

“The availability of GemXpresso RAD to the market makes possible the development of an exciting range of powerful solutions based on the Java platform,” said Patrice Peyret, director of consumer transactions at JavaSoft, a division of Sun Microsystems, Inc. “The combination of more powerful hardware and Java Card 2.0’s advanced software architecture will allow the rapid development of new and more advanced smart card applications.”

Pricing and Availability

GemXpresso RAD includes an applet prototyping-card based on a 32-bit processor, and a developer environment featuring a Virtual Machine and class libraries based on Java Card 2.0.

Customers can choose between the GemXpresso RAD kit containing a reader, two cards and software, with e-mail technical support for the special price of US$499 through May 1, 1998 (after this date the kit will be price at US$799); or the GemXpresso RAD professional kit, which adds telephone technical support and two full days of training, for US$3,999.

Gemplus is developing a variety of 8-bit and 32-bit Java-based deployment cards that it expects to be available beginning in late 1998.

GemXpresso RAD is available immediately and can be purchased through the Gemplus Web Store, the new virtual smart card store on the Internet that Gemplus launched today. It can be accessed at .

About Gemplus

Gemplus () is the world’s leading provider of conventional and smart card-based solutions. Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.

With sales of over US$585 million in 1997, Gemplus employs more than 4,100 people, in ten manufacturing facilities, five R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in 27 countries around the world. Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, and information technology.

Gemplus is a registered trademark of Gemplus Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner.



The nation’s sixteenth largest issuer of VISA and MasterCards is pulling in the reins on national marketing, focusing on its core bank marketing area. First Union confirmed Friday it has put national solicitations on hold and will now target consumers in its twelve state banking service region. Also First Union card chief Fred Winkler announced Friday he will resign effective April 1. Former First USA CFO Jack Antonini, who took over as head of consumer banking last summer, said First Union will now data-mine relationships, cross-selling new products and services. First Union indicated above average losses in its national card segments also contributed to the shift in strategy. Winkler, formerly a top exec of AT&T Universal, will have his responsibilities divided among several executives. First Union chief credit officer David Nole will become SVP of credit cards and Keith Myers, COO of consumer banking, will oversee debit and smart cards. The Charlotte Observer reported Saturday that Winkler will pursue options to take advantage of his national background.