Bad Payment Checks

FDC’s First Data Analytics unveiled a new predictive scoring solution to help card issuers identify the potential risk between a credit card payment and when the payment actually clears the bank. ‘ACS Payment Defender’ uses remittance algorithms to predict the probability of reversed payments based on a set of cardholder characteristics. The model generates a numeric remittance score, which represents the probability that a cardholder’s next payment will be reversed. The issuer can then develop strategies, with several decision keys and actions available, to limit financial exposure on the account’s credit limit.


NCR Leadership

According to figures released yesterday NCR continues to be the world’s leading ATM supplier for the 11th consecutive year. Last year NCR delivered 42,440 ATMs worldwide (excluding Japan) compared to 31,083 units for 1996, a 37% increase. In the U.S., NCR shipped 13,864 ATMs during 1997 compared to 9,536 the previous year. The company says sales were boosted by the growth of full- service ATMs as well as the growth in the off-premise market. In one major U.S. contract with Banc One, NCR supplied 3,000 ATMs for gas station and convenience store deployment.


US Airways Stays With AmEx

US Airways and American Express announced yesterday that they have renewed an agreement between the airline’s Dividend Miles program and the American Express Membership Rewards program.

Under the agreement, American Express Membership Rewards enrollees are able to transfer points to their US Airways Dividend Miles program account. The miles then can be redeemed for free travel to a variety of destinations throughout the world, on US Airways or Dividend Miles partner airlines.

“The Membership Rewards program allows US Airways Dividend Miles members an additional opportunity to build upon their mileage accounts,” said Rakesh Gangwal, US Airways president and chief operating officer.  “We are pleased to be able to renew our agreement with American Express.”

“US Airways offers valuable benefits to our Membership Rewards program and their participation is a winning combination for both companies and most importantly, for our customers,” said Alfred F. Kelly, executive vice president and general manager, Consumer Card Services, at American Express.

American Express card members can earn one Membership Rewards point for every dollar spent using enrolled American Express Cards.  One point equals one Dividend Mile, which can be transferred to a member’s Dividend Miles account in increments of 1,000 points.  There is no expiration date on points earned using the American Express Card and US Airways’ Dividend Miles program mileage does not expire.

The US Airways Dividend Miles Program and American Express Membership Rewards Program agreement began in June 1993.

US Airways’ Dividend Miles partners include MCI, Alitalia, ANA, LatinPass, Northwest Airlines, Qantas, Sabena, Swissair, Conrad International Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, ITT Sheraton, Four Points Hotels, Marriott, Radisson, Renaissance, Westin, Alamo, Hertz, National, NationsBank, and The Flower Club.

In addition to US Airways and 13 other airline partners, Membership Rewards points can be redeemed in reward categories that include lodging, car rental, Land & Sea Vacations, theme parks, shopping, sports and gourmet rewards.

With the launch of MetroJet service on June 1, US Airways, US Airways Express, US Airways Shuttle and MetroJet will fly to more than 204 destinations worldwide, including 38 states in the U.S., Bermuda, Cancun, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Nassau, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Croix, and the Canadian destinations of Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, and London, Ontario.  US Airways also serves Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Rome and Madrid, and is scheduled to begin service this spring to London and Amsterdam.

The award-winning American Express Membership Rewards program was launched in June 1991.  American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company — a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850.  It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.

For additional information on the US Airways Dividend Miles Program, contact your professional travel consultant or US Airways at 1-800-428-4322. For American Express Membership Rewards enrollment information, call 1-800-AXP-EARN (1-800-297-3276).

Visit US Airways’ World Wide Web Site or the American Express site at [ttp://][1].



Chase Card Bonds Rated

Chase Credit Card Master Trust’s series 1998-1 fixed-rate fungible asset-backed certificates DEM 500 million class A- 1, FRF 1,500 million class A-2, and NLG 500 million class A-3 are rated ‘AAA’ by Fitch IBCA. In addition, the privately placed $63.519 million class B certificates are rated ‘A’.

The certificates are backed a pool of U.S. credit card receivables totaling more than $13 billion. The receivables are generated under a diverse array of MasterCard and Visa accounts originated by both Chase Manhattan Bank and Chemical Bank, which now form Chase Manhattan Bank USA, N.A. (Chase, the transferor).

The ratings are supported by the quality of the underlying receivables pool, available credit enhancement, terms of the swap agreements and the ratings of the swap counterparty, Chase’s underwriting and servicing capabilities, adequate cash flows, and a sound legal structure, which employs the use of pay out triggers.

The ratings address the likelihood of investors receiving full and timely interest payments in accordance with terms of the underlying documents and full repayment of principal by the termination date. The ratings do not address the likelihood of principal repayment by the scheduled payment date.

Series 1998-1 differs from those previously issued by the trust by incorporating interest rate and foreign currency swaps along with Euro conversion and rapid accumulation features. For full analysis of this transaction and its features, refer to Fitch IBCA research titled “Chase Credit Card Master Trust, Series 1998-1.”


AmEx AXI Update

Travel managers attending the Corporate Travel World trade show in New York got their first look Monday at a host of new features available in the latest release of AXI, American Express’ online corporate travel booking product.  AXI, jointly developed with Microsoft, has been installed now at more than 60 U.S. companies.

These new features, designed to help companies improve control over costs and help their travelers save time, will be available in March

— Best-Priced Flights Option has been improved to quickly calculate the lowest logical airfare, considering negotiated discounts;

— Travel Arranger permits associates to book trips for one or more busy travelers;

— Travel Approver gives a manager the option to approve a trip online prior to ticketing;

— Itinerary Templates enable travelers to simply and quickly book trips to destinations they visit often;

— Shared Itineraries allow users to search for, access and copy others’ itineraries, facilitating group trips, and allow companies to set up pre-formatted itineraries with preferred airlines and hotels for particular events;

— Online Reporting provides travel managers with easy access to system usage statistics;

— Broadcast Messaging lets travel managers to post online messages to all users or to select groups; and

— E-mail Itineraries allow travelers to forward itineraries by e-mail to colleagues and family.

In addition, several exciting new features take full advantage of interactive capabilities and design.  Travelers now can simply click a button to check company policy relating to the portion of the trip they are currently booking.  They also can view all scheduled flights, regardless of availability, to help identify a specific flight for waitlisting or to adjust travel plans.  And travelers now can select flights by arrival time, access a currency converter or search for a hotel by its proximity to a major attraction.

Travel managers will now be able to use AXI to encourage the use of the company’s preferred form of payment and to support a central billing option. In addition, AXI has added two levels of policy enforcement, with the option to either prohibit booking or require approval for out-of-policy trips. “We’ve listened to a lot of great ideas from our initial users and we will continue to enhance AXI and roll out new features quickly because of the flexible architecture of the system,” noted Mike Mulligan, senior vice president, American Express Corporate Services Interactive group.  “We’re truly excited with the pace of AXI implementations and look forward to continuing this momentum throughout the year.”

Rate of Installations Accelerates

Powered by Microsoft Travel Technologies, AXI’s architecture has proven so robust and flexible that the rate of client installations continues to accelerate rapidly.  Installations have grown rapidly from a total base of 20 companies at the end of 1997 to 60 by the end of February.  The implementation process has been streamlined so that each client’s site, including their company logo, customized travel policy, negotiated rates and preferred suppliers, can be delivered quickly and accurately.  This is allowed American Express to complete 35 online sites in only three weeks.  The system is designed so that travelers can sign on and immediately start booking trips without training.

“AXI is performing very well from the point of view of both reliability and support,” added Mulligan.  “We’re pleased to see so many travelers going back and using it over and over.  In fact, one companys pilot group is already booking 80 percent of their travel through AXI.”

AXI reaches another milestone this month by adding a connection to the Worldspan CRS (computer reservation system), AXI currently works with SABRE and will connect to Apollo later this year.

Microsoft Travel Technologies was developed using Microsoft’s Back Office(TM) family of products (including Windows NT(R) server, Internet Information Server, and Microsoft SQL Server(TM).  Accessible from web browsers that are HTML 3.0-compliant, AXI is designed to connect with American Express’ proprietary back-office systems, including quality control, low-fare search and client-negotiated rate databases.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers.  The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

American Express operates the largest travel agency in the world, recording $17.4 billion in worldwide travel sales in 1997.  Through its Corporate Services group, the company counts more than 75 percent of the Fortune 500 as customers of its business travel and/or Corporate Card programs.  More information on the full range of travel management tools from Corporate Services can be found on the website .

The American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850.  It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.


Discover Card Bonds Rated

Discover Card Master Trust I’s $500 million 5.80% class A credit card pass-through certificates, series 1998-2, are expected to be rated ‘AAA’ by Fitch IBCA.  The corresponding $26.3 million 5.95% class B certificates are expected to be rated ‘A’.

Series 1998-2 expected ratings reflect the high quality of the receivables generated by Discover Card holders, 8.5% available subordinated amount supporting class A, 4% cash collateral account protecting class B, sound legal and cash flow structures, and excellent servicing provided by Greenwood Trust Co.

Economic and credit stress scenarios were applied to the collateral pool to determine the appropriate levels of credit enhancement for the certificates.  One of the more severe ‘AAA’ scenarios involved decreasing yield by more than 30%, cutting monthly payment rate by 40% and increasing chargeoffs over 30%.  The ‘A’ stress decreased yield by 25%, payment rate by 30% and increased chargeoffs to 23%.  With the credit enhancement currently available, the securities could withstand these stresses simultaneously and still make full and timely payments of principal and interest to class A and class B investors.

Investors are protected from deterioration in asset quality, seller insolvency or servicer default by early amortization triggers.  If certain adverse events occur, an accelerated payout of investor principal will begin possibly earlier than expected. During such an amortization event, finance charge collections normally allocated to the seller will become available to cover trust expenses through a structural feature that fixes the finance charge allocation based upon pre-amortization invested amounts.  Allocating finance charge collections in this manner allows funds otherwise designated to the seller to flow through to the trust. Greenwood has the option the allocate collections on a floating basis, which would require enhancement levels to be increased to 13.5% for class A and 8.5% for class B.

Class A certificateholders will receive semiannual interest payments at a fixed rate of 5.80% per annum throughout the revolving and accumulation periods and on the expected final payment date, provided an early amortization event does not occur. Interest will be paid monthly to class B certificateholders at a fixed rate of 5.95%.  Following a variable accumulation period, principal is expected to be paid to class A on the March 2001 distribution date and to class B one month later.  As a part of Group One, series 1998-2 will share excess finance charge and principal collections with other Group One series.


SmartDisk Corp Formed

Fischer International Systems Corporation and Toshiba Corporation announced this morning a joint venture between FISC and Toshiba to manufacture, market and distribute adapters that allow standard PC floppy disk drives to read and write data to and from the Toshiba SmartMedia flash memory cards and smart cards. The new company, SmartDisk Corporation, will oversee development, production and worldwide marketing of the Smarty(tm) smart card reader/writer and the FlashPath(tm) SmartMedia(tm) reader/writer. These devices turn any PC with a floppy drive into a fully functioning smart card and flash memory card reader/writer. FISC and Toshiba are the initial partners in the venture, with FISC providing advanced technologies for these adapters and Toshiba offering manufacturing expertise and an international marketing presence. Other worldwide electronics companies are also expected to join the strategic partnership in the near future.

SmartDisk Corporation is headquartered in Naples, Florida with international operations planned to be managed from Tokyo, Japan. The company will have a start-up staff of 30, a number expected to grow as business increases. SmartDisk’s products will be manufactured in the U.S. and the Philippines.

“Our relationship with Toshiba and the launch of SmartDisk Corporation mark a new era for Fischer International,” said Addison Fischer, Founder and Chairman of FISC, “and further demonstrate the wisdom of collaborative technological relationships between the U.S. and Japan.”

“By achieving high volume, top quality production, we will be able to economically offer our patented, easy to use devices to the global marketplace,” said Michael S. Battaglia, President and CEO of FISC and SmartDisk Corporation. “We believe that the volume availability of Smarty(tm) and FlashPath(tm) will give the digital electronic marketplace the products it needs to more quickly realize its growth potential. We further believe that this is the beginning of a very positive relationship between Fischer, Toshiba, and their future strategic partners.”

About FlashPath(tm)

FlashPath(tm) has the same physical dimensions as a floppy disk, but includes a slot to insert a Toshiba SmartMedia(tm) card. FlashPath(tm) fits directly into and works from the floppy disk drive found on most PCs, quickly and easily uploading digital images from the SmartMedia(tm) card onto the PC for editing and Internet transport. FlashPath(tm) provides SmartMedia(tm) a decisive advantage over other portable storage media because it can be used with all kinds of PCs, including portable and desktop computers, without the need for special cards, external connections or interfaces. FlashPath(tm) is expected to accelerate further development of the digital still camera market and to significantly expand the use of SmartMedia(tm) in other areas, such as audio applications and use as a general purpose storage medium.

About Smarty(tm)

The Smarty(tm) smart card reader/writer acts as a bridge between a smart card and a PC. Smarty(tm) also has the same dimensions as a floppy disk and works from the floppy drive. To use it as a reader, one simply inserts a smart card into the slot in Smarty(tm), then slips Smarty(tm) into the PC’s floppy drive.

Increasing use of smart cards in Asia, Europe and the U.S. is fueling a need for a versatile, economical card reader. Smarty(tm) fulfills this need. It supports electronic commerce and banking, and supports the high-level security such transactions require. With its support for such applications as access control, network authentication, data certification and other business transactions, Smarty(tm) will expedite increased use of electronic commerce, banking and Internet shopping.

About SmartMedia(tm)

SmartMedia(tm) are highly compact, light, cost-effective data storage cards, slightly larger than a postage stamp, first developed by Toshiba in 1995. They incorporate a NAND flash-memory chip that offers an ideal removable storage medium in such applications as digital still photography, where SmartMedia(tm) is fast becoming the accepted standard. Toshiba alone now manufactures over 300,000 SmartMedia(tm) cards a month, with more manufactured by its technology partner. Output is expected to continue to rise under a development road-map that promises a 1-gigabit SmartMedia(tm) card by 2001.

SmartDisk Corporation

— Established February, 1998

— Capital Over US$20 million

— Ownership 60% Fischer International Systems Corporation, 40% Toshiba and others

— CEO Michael S. Battaglia

— Employees 30 (initially)

— Corporate headquarters SmartDisk Corporation, 3506 Mercantile Avenue, Naples, FL 34104 USA

Toshiba Corporation

Toshiba is a world leader in high technology products with subsidiaries worldwide. The company has expertise in virtually all areas of electronics and electric products.

Fischer International Systems Corporation

Fischer International Systems Corporation (FISC) provides a family of enterprise-wide global messaging, connectivity, and security hardware and software products. The company is headquartered in Naples, Florida and has offices throughout North America and Europe.


Fleet Family Financial Center

Fleet Financial Group and FamilyEducation Network announced the opening of an online financial services center for families nationwide this morning. The Fleet Family Financial Center is an interactive web site designed to assist parents with financial planning for their children’s future through an array of services to help them meet their financial goals. The services include mutual fund investments, brokerage services, mortgage services and academic management services. Information about investment and management services offered through the Fleet Family FinancialCenter include specialized investment services designed to help parents save for their children’s college education, such as mutual fund college investment programs and the U.Plan.


ECHOtel Launched

Electronic Clearing House Inc. announced the introduction of its ECHOtel system Friday , a low-cost processing solution for home-based businesses that want to accept credit cards. The company said with literally thousands of home-based business and franchise opportunities being sold each year, ECHOtel allows these new business owners to process credit cards without buying or leasing point-of-sale equipment at significant up-front cost.’ The ECHOtel system uses an interactive voice-response (IVR) system that allows the merchant to easily submit credit-card transactions through ECHO. The new service also permits merchants to validate cardholders’ billing addresses, perform authorizations, deposit funds and accept payment for service or merchandise at locations where it may not be convenient, possible or affordable to use conventional point-of-sale equipment.


Game Financial Lands Ameristar Casino

Game Financial Corporation, a subsidiary of Travelers Express Company, Inc., announced this morning it has received a contract to provide its GameCash(R) Credit Card Cash Advance services for all five Ameristar Casino properties Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Ameristar Casino Vicksburg in Vicksburg, Miss.; The Reserve in Henderson, Nev.; and Cactus Pete’s Resort Casino and The Horseshu Hotel & Casino, both in Jackpot, Nev. Operations are expected to commence at all properties by the end of the second quarter of 1998.

Game Financial Corporation provides gaming establishments, primarily casinos, with comprehensive services that allow their patrons to access cash through the use of credit card cash advance, check cashing and automated teller machine (ATM) services. Through proprietary PC-based systems, the company is an innovative leader in using the credit card cash advance transaction as an opportunity to provide promotional programs and other value-added customer reward and retention services to its host establishments.

In December, 1997, Game Financial Corporation merged with Travelers Express, a leading processor of money orders, electronic bill payments and official checks. Travelers Express is a subsidiary of Viad Corp (NYSEVVI), a Phoenix-based company that includes airline catering, convention services, payment services, and travel and leisure.


Siebel – Scopus Merger

Siebel Systems, Inc. announced this morning an agreement to merge with Scopus Technology, Inc. , creating the world’s largest provider of sales, marketing, and customer service information systems.

The combined company will bring together Siebel Systems, the leader in sales and marketing automation, with Scopus Technology, the leader in customer service, field service, and call center solutions to enhance its market leadership position in the Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) marketplace.

The combined company will be known as Siebel Systems, with headquarters in San Mateo, Calif. Scopus Technology will operate as Siebel Systems’ customer service, field service, and call center business unit based in Emeryville, Calif. Ori S. Sasson, currently President and CEO of Scopus Technology, will become Senior Vice President and General Manager of the customer service, field service, and call center business unit and will become a member of the Siebel Systems’ executive committee.

The companies’ products, including Siebel Systems’ sales and marketing automation applications and Scopus Technology’s customer service, field service, and call center applications will be integrated into a unified suite of sales, marketing, and customer service systems. The company will develop a common user interface across the entire suite of applications, as well as a unified data model, architecture, and tool set. The integrated product suite will continue to support integration with back office and ERP systems to provide a complete, end-to-end enterprise information solution. Customers of both companies will be assured of a clear migration path as the product lines converge after the close of the merger.

Additional synergy results from the companies combining their ongoing vertical market initiatives focused upon banking, telecommunications, insurance, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, brokerage, health care, and technology and manufacturing industries.

The Scopus Technology organization will continue to focus its energies on the customer service, field service and call center market opportunities with responsibility for product marketing, marketing and engineering. Other business functions including sales, finance, customer support and corporate marketing will be integrated within the existing Siebel Systems organization.

“We are combining the leader in sales and marketing automation with the leader in customer service and call center solutions to provide customers the unified Enterprise Relationship Management systems they are clearly telling us they want,” said Thomas M. Siebel, Chairman and CEO of Siebel Systems. “Our technologies are entirely complementary, our cultures are well aligned, and our ability to reach and support customers on a global basis is tremendously enhanced. I’d characterize this as not only a win-win for current customers, but an unprecedented opportunity for potential customers to finally have access to the most robust single-source Enterprise Relationship Management systems available.”

Siebel continued, “The Scopus Technology service and call center products clearly lead the industry in providing enterprise class call center and field service solutions. These products are the hands-down winners.

“Equally important is our dramatically increased presence within the sales, marketing and customer service marketplace. With combined revenues of $206.4 million for calendar year 1997, more than 900 employees, and over 500 customers worldwide, we are optimistic about continuing to gain market share in this rapidly growing market segment. This merger provides the critical mass that will allow us to seize this tremendous market opportunity,” Siebel concluded.

“On virtually every basis — product strength, customer service, company vision and quality of business operations — Siebel Systems is the unrivaled leader in sales and marketing information systems,” said Ori S. Sasson, Chairman and CEO of Scopus Technology. “We can now dramatically expand the scope of solutions and level of service that we provide our installed base.”

“From a customer perspective, this is a dream come true,” said Dr. Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Novell, a large customer of both Siebel Systems and Scopus Technology. “The benefits are clear comprehensive functionality; clear technology leadership; a totally integrated Enterprise Relationship Management solution; and an unrivaled global support and service infrastructure.”

Under the terms of the agreement, each outstanding share of Scopus common stock will be exchanged, at a fixed exchange ratio of .36405, for newly issued shares of common stock of Siebel Systems. This will result in the issuance of approximately 7.5 million additional Siebel shares, valued at about $460 million based upon Siebel Systems’ closing price of Friday, Feb. 27, 1998. In addition, all outstanding employee stock options of Scopus Technology will convert into Siebel options at the same exchange ratio. The number of shares issued and options assumed will be adjusted to reflect the 2 for 1 Siebel Systems stock split announced Feb. 26, 1998.

The transaction will be accounted for as a pooling of interests, and will qualify as a tax-free reorganization. The merger is subject to the approval of shareholders of both companies, and appropriate government agencies. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 1998.

Except for the historical information contained herein, this press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. The success of the acquisition and future operating results of Siebel Systems and Scopus Technology may differ from the results discussed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements due to factors that include, but are not limited to, risks associated with acquisition, such as the potential inability to satisfy the closing conditions for the acquisition, potential difficulties in the assimilation of operations, strategies, technologies and products of the acquired company, the risk of loss of key personnel of the acquired company, diversion of management attention from other business concerns, business risks including the risk of variations in quarterly operating results due to the timing of significant orders and other factors, significant current and expected additional competition and the need to continue to expand product distribution. Further information on potential factors that could affect the financial results of Siebel Systems and Scopus Technology are included in Siebel Systems’ Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 1996 and Scopus Technology’s Report on Form 10-K for the year ended March 31, 1997, each of which are on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

About Siebel Systems

Siebel Systems, Inc., (NASDAQSEBL) is the world’s leading supplier of enterprise-class sales, marketing, and customer service information systems for organizations focused on increasing sales and service effectiveness in field sales, service organizations, telesales, telemarketing, call centers, and third-party resellers. The company’s Windows-based client/server software combines a standards-based open architecture with new and emerging technologies to enable exceptional scalability, configurability, functionality, and performance. Siebel Systems’ corporate alliances include Andersen Consulting, Compaq Computer Corporation, and Microsoft. Siebel Systems product and service information is located on the World Wide Web at [][1].

About Scopus Technology

Scopus Technology, Inc. (NASDAQSCOP) is the world’s leader in front office software with more than 70,000 end users in a wide variety of industries. The highly scalable and fully integrated Scopus Technology application suite drives mission-critical customer service, support, sales and marketing activities — focusing the entire enterprise on winning and keeping customers. Scopus Technology customers include world-class organizations like Alcatel, America Online, Bank of America, Bank of Indonesia, Boeing, Dell Computer, Fleet Bank, Ford Motor Co., GTE, Hewlett-Packard, LA Cellular, NTT, Packard Bell, VISA and Volvo. Founded in 1991, Scopus Technology is headquartered in Emeryville, Calif. For more information, visit the Scopus Technology Web site at [][2].



AlphaNet Office

AlphaNet Hospitality Systems announced this morning it has signed both The Watergate Hotel and Radisson Hotel Toledo for a state-of-the-art credit-card activated business center called ‘The Office’. “The Office” provides hotel guests with business equipment that operates in a self-serve and unattended manner. Besides featuring a personal computer complete with popular business software, Internet and e-mail access as well as printing, faxing and photocopying capabilities, “The Office” provides business travelers with easy access to on-line information through Business Traveler Services and CyberConnections.