Cap One Expansion

Capital One announced yesterday it will expand its workforce by 2,000 people this year. The nation’s ninth largest issuer is in the midst of breaking ground for a second operations facility in Tampa. The new Tampa call center will open in September with about 600 associates to complement the current Tampa call center of 650 associates. Totally Cap One has 6,000 associates worldwide among operations facilities in VA, FL, TX and the U.K..

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Vital Promotion

Vital Processing Services , announced today it has promoted Vicki McKee to vice president of corporate education, Jann McMahan to vice president of conversions and client training and Gene Walter to vice president of systems support.

Vicki McKee, Vice President, Corporate Education

As vice president of corporate education, Vicki McKee is responsible for the education efforts for both internal and external employees and clients. She will train clients on Vital’s products, their features and benefits. Specifically, McKee will be charged with a 1998 corporate initiative focusing on computer-based training for new internal and client programs.

McKee’s career began with a 13-year tenure at GE Capital.  She served in a variety of positions in collections, sales, and finally as credit manager. McKee left GE Capital to join Providian as training manager in the dispute resolution area, then accepted a position at Visa as a Member education trainer.  McKee joined Vital in 1996 as Director of Corporate Education.

Jann McMahan, Vice President, Conversions and Client Training

Jann McMahan’s current responsibilities as vice president of conversions and client training include the conversion of existing merchant and start-up portfolios onto the Vital merchant system.  On the training side, McMahan manages the Client Training Department which educates financial institutions and Independent Sales Organizations (ISO’s) on how to use the system.  McMahan operates out of the Columbus, Ga. facility.

McMahan began her career in the banking/credit card business in 1974 with Columbus Bank and Trust, Citizens and Southern National Bank, and American Express.  At Total System Services, Inc.(sm), one of Vital’s parent companies, she worked for eight years as a merchant system client trainer, project manager, and held the title of assistant vice president.  McMahan moved to Vital in 1996 as director of client training and documentation.

Gene Walter, Vice President, Support Services

Keeping Vital on the cutting edge of telecommunications, Gene Walter’s responsibility as vice president of systems support is building services, telecommunications services and complex technical support.

Walter began his career with AT&T and has worked in virtually all aspects of the telecommunications business, from installation, operations and marketing.  After 31 years of service, he accepted a job with Fireman’s Fund as director of telecommunications.  In 1994, Walter moved to Visa International to manage the Visa Voice Network.  Walter joined the Visa MAC in preparation for the formation of Vital, serving as the director of systems support.

Vital Processing Services (Vital) is a leading full-service merchant processing company.  Its clients include financial institutions that provide credit card processing to their merchant customers.  Headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., Vital offers financial institutions operational services that enhance business solutions without competing for their merchant business.  Its services include merchant POS products, electronic authorization and data capture; clearing, settlement and exception processing; merchant accounting, billing, and reporting; operational fulfillment services (including the outsourcing of chargeback and retrieval processing); risk management; and customer service.  Vital is a merchant processing joint venture of Visa(R) U.S.A. and Total System Services, Inc.(R) (NYSE TSS) (TSYS(R)) ().  Vital’s Internet address is .

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Relaunched

Chase Manhattan relaunched the cobranded Bell Atlantic card yesterday by converting 70,000 Chase/NYNEX cardholders to the Bell Atlantic program. Bell Atlantic and NYNEX merged last year. Chase acquired the 500,000 cardholder, Bell Atlantic program August 21, 1997 from First Omni Bank. The relaunched card will be called ‘The Bell Atlantic Credit Card from Chase’ and will be issued as a no- annual-fee VISA or MasterCard. Chase indicated yesterday it will convert the existing ‘Bell Atlantic VISA’ cardholders to the ‘Bell Atlantic VISA Card from Chase’ in April. The rewards program connected with the card offers a 1% rebate on purchases, a 2% rebate on Bell Atlantic residential phone services and a 3% rebate on certain Bell Atlantic calling card calls. Rebates are good towards Bell Atlantic residential phone bills. Card pricing includes a 9-month intro rate of 6.9%, a tiered go-to purchase rate of prime +9.4% for balances under $2,500 and prime +7.4% for balances above $2,500. Interest rates for cash advances are prime +11.55%.

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BASE24 check auth 3.0

Applied Communications, Inc., a subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. , announces the availability of BASE24-check auth 3.0, the latest version of ACI’s check authorization product for retail applications.  BASE24-check auth 3.0 builds on the proven, flexible features of previous versions to offer retailers a fast, convenient method for authorizing checks with improved fraud detection capabilities.

“As the volume of checks continues to increase so does the incidence of check fraud — and the fraud is becoming more sophisticated,” said Ed Mangold, senior vice president of ACI’s Americas distribution channel.  “Retailers are caught in the middle.  They can’t refuse to accept checks, and at the same time need to reign in losses from bad checks.  BASE24-check auth offers an ideal solution.  Its comprehensive and flexible features enable retailers to quickly authorize checks and speed up the check-out process while limiting exposure to check fraud.”

ACI enlisted the help of current BASE24-check auth users to define enhancements contained in release 3.0 and partnered with PayPoint Electronic Payment Systems, Inc. for beta testing.  Enhancements in the new release include the ability to authorize non-personal checks (business, payroll, government, etc.) using a personal ID to prevent the duplication or creation of fraudulent business and payroll checks; enhanced multi-dimensional linkage of a customer’s primary and alternate identification with programmatic capabilities that update all associated IDs to reflect the customer’s total check writing history; additional authorizing options for high-dollar transactions to minimize exposure from high-risk checks; and the ability to support additional check types — including mutual funds and home equity — that enable retailers to respond to changing market environments.

The BASE24-check auth system operates on Tandem NonStop Himalaya computer servers and supports the authorization of checks based on positive and/or negative information stored in a local database and both online and batch updates of database information.  Additionally, the system can import data from third-party providers or a retailer’s own returned check database to ensure that the system has the most current information on which to base authorizations.

Applied Communications, Inc. is a subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc.  Transaction Systems’ software facilitates electronic payments and electronic commerce by providing consumers and companies access to their money.  The company’s products are used to process transactions involving credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, remote banking services, checks, wire transfers and automated clearing and settlement.  Its solutions are used on more than 2,800 product systems in 69 countries on six continents. Visit TSA and ACI on the World Wide Web at .

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Mag-Tek Opens UK Office

Mag-Tek Inc., strengthened its presence in the European marketplace with the opening of its office Thursday in Cheltenham, England, 100 miles west of London.

Mag-Tek Europe will be responsible for coordinating business development in Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“Europe is a large market for card technology and is very important to Mag-Tek,” Lou Struett, executive vice president of Mag-Tek, said. “Our new office will enable us to work more closely with existing distributors while establishing new distributors and customers in other neighboring markets.”

Struett also announced Steve Poulston as the managing director of the new office. According to Poulston, the new office will dramatically raise the awareness of Mag-Tek and ensure that developments in Mag-Tek programs address the needs of European customers. Customer support will also be improved, allowing calls to Mag-Tek Europe during normal business hours.

Mag-Tek Europe will also be introduced March 19-25 at the annual CeBIT show, the world’s largest exhibition of information technology. Poulston and other Mag-Tek personnel from the Los Angeles headquarters office will be located at Hall 23, Stand A42, Booth 3.

Poulston was formerly the European operations manager for American Magnetics. He can be reached at Mag-Tek Europe by calling +44 (0) 1242 223830, faxing to +44 (0) 1242 223831 or e-mailing him at steve@magtek.co.uk.

Mag-Tek () manufactures an ever-expanding line of card readers, MICR check readers, encoders and motorized readers for financial institutions, OEMs and retailers. Since 1972, its headquarters have been in Carson, with sales offices throughout the United States and international distribution in more than 40 countries.

Mag-Tek, known worldwide as an industry leader in technology and innovation, pioneered magnetic-stripe readers more than 20 years ago.

Mag-Tek technology is used in millions of point-of-sale and financial transactions utilizing debit cards, credit cards, grocery- store checkouts, automated gas pumps, pay phones and airplane-seat phones throughout the world. For more information on Mag-Tek products, call 888/624-8350.

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Hospital Payment System

Imperial Technology Solutions, the healthcare technology division of Los Angeles-based Imperial Bank, and The Shams Group , a consulting and software integrator in the hospital industry, have joined together to enable hospitals with Meditech financial information systems to electronically verify and automate the collection of payment receivables.

![][1]     “We pursued a relationship with TSG because of our similar goals for the healthcare industry,” commented Debra K. Hubers, president of ITS.  “Teaming with The Shams Group will allow the two of us to provide some genuine financial solutions to their hospital information systems customers around the country.  These solutions will directly impact every hospital’s bottom line.”

Through this alliance, TSG will provide ITS’ Receivables Payment Manager (“RPM”) Internet product to Meditech’s hospitals.  RPM can turn each hospital’s PC into a patient payment station and then instantly integrate that data into the patient records and financial systems.

Imperial Technology Solutions’ RPM credit/debit card system is the healthcare industry’s first Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 95 integrated payment card server.  This system makes it easier for hospitals to collect co-pay and patient-responsible balances at the point of service.  Rather than the traditional method of attaching a credit card receipt to a patient encounter form, which may take days to process, the RPM system integrates with patient records and accounts receivable systems, completing the transaction in a matter of seconds.  This method will improve both the work flow process and the speed with which the funds are received.

“Our commitment to the healthcare industry requires that we associate with sophisticated technology innovators to nurture the most cost-effective solutions for hospitals’ emerging needs,” said Kamruddin Shams, president of The Shams Group.  “Teaming with ITS will allow the work flow associated with processing patient payments to be cut from days to seconds.”

The Shams Group, Inc. was established in 1989 as a privately-held company based in Carrollton, Texas.  Initially, the company provided consulting services for Meditech hospitals, but their capabilities have since evolved with the needs of the healthcare marketplace.  TSG now provides software integration solutions, as well as consulting services to more than 300 hospitals throughout the United States and Canada.  For more information on the products and services available, contact a TSG representative at (972) 484-9393 or visit the Web site at .

Imperial Technology Solutions, until recently known as Imperial Bank’s Health Care Technology Group, is the only division of a major bank in the country with a team of healthcare, technology and marketing specialists solely dedicated to providing financial technology solutions to the healthcare industry.  For more information, contact Imperial Technology Solutions at (800) 716-9777, or visit ITS’ World Wide Web site at http//www.itsrpm.com.     With nearly $5 billion in assets, Imperial Bank is one of the leading independent business banks in the West, offering a wide range of financial services tailored to corporate customers, entrepreneurs and professionals. Imperial Bank is the principal subsidiary of Imperial Bancorp (NYSE IMP) and can be found on the Web at .

[1]: /graphic/shamsgroup/shams.gif

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MIFARE to be Open

Philips Semiconductors announced it is opening its MIFARE Technology for contactless smart cards to the market, in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

As a result, any company will be able to manufacture and use products compatible with the MIFARE Interface Technology according to the ISO/IEC 14443 Type A international standard for contactless cards. The related patents will be made available under standard terms to everyone internationally recognized for access to patent rights.

“Philips Semiconductors has been developing MIFARE over the last seven years to become an industry standard for contactless smart card ICs,” said Arno Peels, business line manager identification, Philips Semiconductors. “To drive the market toward global acceptance, Philips is now opening the technology in line with the respective ISO standards.”

The existing comprehensive portfolio of MIFARE products satisfies demands ranging from contactless memory card ICs to sophisticated contactless microcontroller solutions. Philips Semiconductors and Siemens are already manufacturers of MIFARE products and recently have been joined by Hitachi Ltd., as the third silicon supplier. With the opening of the MIFARE Technology, the number of companies making MIFARE-based products is expected to increase.

With thirty million cards in use and more than a billion completed transactions, Philips’ MIFARE Architecture Platform has emerged as the industry standard for contactless smart card systems, covering about ninety percent of this fast growing market. The MIFARE Architecture Platform is a family of compatible card ICs and reader ICs based on the MIFARE Technology, which consists of card and reader components working at an operating frequency of 13.56 MHz.

“Contactless smart cards will be the key to the people’s mobility in the future,” said Arthur van der Poel, chairman and CEO of Philips Semiconductors. “Users will benefit from less queuing and will no longer need to search to find exact change. Compatibility ensures that people can choose to have just one card to cover all their daily transactions.”

An independent certification institute will be established this year to ensure compatibility between the various MIFARE products produced by different suppliers. The commitment to maintain backward compatibility within the MIFARE Architecture Platform provides a solid base for investment decisions.

Additionally, Philips Semiconductors will be establishing later this year a MIFARE User Group to allow users to exchange information, discuss their needs and available solutions, and generate ideas on enhancing the MIFARE Architecture Platform. This group will be open to all MIFARE users, such as service providers, system integrators, and reader, card and silicon manufacturers. This will be particularly useful for new partners to gain immediate access to MIFARE information, suppliers and expertise.

About Philips Semiconductors

Philips Semiconductors, Inc. is a subsidiary of Philips Electronics North America and an affiliate of Philips Electronics NV, headquartered in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Philips Semiconductors is a leader with a proven reputation in the development and production of cryptocontroller and contactless Smart Card ICs. Philips Semiconductors’ innovations in digital audio, video and mobile technology position the company as a leader in the consumer, multimedia and wireless communications markets.

Sales offices are located in all major markets around the world and are supported by regional application labs. For more information on Philips Semiconductors Identification, please visit [www.semiconductors.philips.com/identification][1].

[1]: http://www.semiconductors.philips.com/identification

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PRCT Picking Up Steam

Belco System Technologies, Inc. announced that it has taken a significant step forward in its research and development program for its Personal Reader Capture Transfer technology (PRCT) product.  IMCI Technologies, with whom Belco has contracted for the development of the PRCT, has reported to Belco that it has confirmed feasibility of a specific design approach and fixed in scope the effort for the initial phase of research and development necessary to ultimately move the product to the manufacturing stage.  Essentially, IMCI has engineered the basic hardware and software design and manufacturing methodologies required to produce the product on a full-scale basis.

The PRCT product is a personal credit card reader that connects directly to a consumer’s telephone, utilizing the same voice line to transmit data to the merchant simultaneously with voice interaction.  Unlike verbally read credit card numbers, PRCT technology ensures the actual presence of the card at the time of transaction.  The technology allows the merchant to directly capture information from the magnetic stripe on the card.  The product has vast significance in its ability to disable the transfer of stolen credit card information and card numbers overhead verbally.  Belco believes its PRCT technology will be effective in helping to lessen the cost of credit card charge-backs and fraud, which have historically reached billions of dollars annually.

Concurrently, Belco announced that it intends to appoint Fred Baradari, Director of Business Development for IMCI, to the Board of Directors of a new subsidiary the Company plans to form to manage its technology business. Lionel Beloyan, Chairman and President of Belco Systems Technologies, commented, “With our relationship with IMCI beginning to grew, and as we move closer to having a product ready to market Fred’s advice and counsel, based on his extensive experience in sales, marketing and new product and business development, will be a tremendous asset to out Company.  We are fortunate to be able to add him to our senior management team.

“I am also pleased to note,” Mr. Beloyan added, “that out recently completed audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 1997, show that despite no operating revenues, our development stage company was still able to post a profit of approximately $46,500.  This profit reflects the success of our investing activities, coupled with our very stringent cost controls.  As a result, we believe we have the resources necessary to further implement our business plan and advance the development of the PRCT technology.”

Fred Baradari has more than fifteen years of experience in sales, business development and product management, with an emphasis on bringing new products to market.  He currently oversees sales, marketing, and product management for IMCI.  Prior to joining IMCI, he held several positions in product development, including for Microlog Corporation and Visa Interactive. Earlier, he served eight years with IBM Corporation in the sales and marketing Of Client/Server and Network Services to government clients.

Privately held IMCI Technologies, based in Vienna, Virginia, is an emerging leader in providing products and services to the telecommunications and information technologies industries.  The Company has provided hardware R&D, software development and enterprise network integration to leading technology companies since 1992.

Belco System Technologies, Inc. is in the business of acquiring, developing, manufacturing and marketing new technologies.

Statements about the Company’s future expectations, including future revenues and earnings, and all other statements in the press release other than historical facts are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  The Company intends that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbors created thereby.  Since these statements involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time, the Company’s actual results could differ materially from expected results.

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Avis Picks AmEx Marketing Exec

Avis Rent A Car, Inc., announced yesterday that it has named Maria M. Miller senior vice president of marketing, reporting to Robert Salerno, president and chief operating officer.  In her new position, Ms. Miller will be responsible for directing Avis’ marketing strategy and initiatives, marketing services, advertising, direct marketing, market research and retail pricing.

Miller comes to Avis with over fifteen years of marketing experience in consumer product and travel related financial services, including eight successful years as an executive with American Express Company.

At American Express, Ms. Miller served as vice president, Platinum Card operations.  Here she led initiatives to improve service delivery and customer satisfaction to this highly profitable card member group.  Ms. Miller also held the position of vice president, small business services marketing, where she grew Corporate Card membership through database development and the direct marketing of acquisition and loyalty programs.  In addition, Ms. Miller held key positions in the Consumer Lending Group vice president, business development; director, Gold Card Line of Credit; and director, sign & travel. She began her career in brand management with General Foods Corporation.

“In striving to achieve our mission as the world’s pre-eminent car rental company, Maria’s impressive and unique background are a true asset to the Avis management team,” said Robert Salerno.  “Her expertise in marketing, product development, and market research brings an important element to our Company. We are confident that Maria will play a significant role in building awareness of the Company and we welcome her to Avis.”

Ms. Miller received her MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business and her BS from New York University.

Avis Rent A Car, Inc. operates the second largest general use car rental business in the world, based on total revenue and volume of rental transactions.  The Company rents vehicles to business and leisure travelers through over 600 locations in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.  Annually, the Company completes approximately 15 million rental transactions with a fleet that averages approximately 200,000 vehicles, generating over $2 billion in revenue, 88% of which is derived from its operations in the United States.

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Credit Store Posts $7 Million Loss

Credit Store, Inc. released unaudited results for the second quarter of its fiscal year 1998, which ended Nov. 30, 1997.

For the three months ending Nov. 30, 1997, Credit Store, Inc. reported revenues of $4.510 million, a 22 percent increase over the first quarter. Operating expenses were $5.456 million, and general and administrative expenses were $4.877 million, which together increased 25 percent over the first quarter. Net interest and other expenses for the quarter totaled $1.198 million. The net loss applicable to common stock for the second quarter was $7.121 million, equal to loss of $0.22 per common share, versus $5.415 million or $0.17 per share in the first quarter. The weighted average number of common shares outstanding remained unchanged for the period at 32,207,465.

In the second quarter, Credit Store, Inc. purchased $245 million in non-performing consumer debt portfolios versus $619 million in the previous quarter. The total gross principal of non-performing consumer debt acquired by the Company since its inception in Oct., 1996 is approximately $1.9 billion. The Company originated $25.230 million in new credit card receivables during the quarter versus $29.626 million the previous quarter. Credit card receivables balances before reserves increased 20 percent during the second quarter from $59.815 million to $71.933 million. As of Nov. 30, 1997, the Company had approximately 49,000 credit cards outstanding.

For the six months ended Nov. 30, 1997 (unaudited), Credit Store, Inc. reported revenues of $8.204 million, operating expenses of $9.909 million and general and administrative expenses of $8.711 million. Net interest and other expenses were $1.919 million. The net loss applicable to common stock for the period was $12.535 million, or $0.39 per share. For the six months period, the Company purchased $864 million in non-performing consumer debt portfolios and originated $55 million in new credit card accounts.

There are no comparative results for the previous fiscal year since operations commenced in October, 1996.

On Dec. 29, 1997, Credit Store, Inc. announced that a major institutional investor had committed to fund a $5 million private placement of new capital into the Company. The Company reports that this capital commitment has now been fully funded through the purchase of $2.5 million of common stock in January and $2.5 million of common stock in February. The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.

Credit Store, Inc. also announced implementation of workplace changes that improved operating efficiencies and will reduce cash expenses significantly. The changes included a 16 percent work force reduction put in place in January 1998, made possible by more effective procedures and continued investment in technology.

“We have now completed what we consider our start-up phase,” said Vice Chairman and CEO Martin Burke. “On entering the next phase, we undertook a complete operational review of the Company, with the goal of lowering our costs of originating new credit cards and of servicing our growing credit card portfolio. This review yielded significant results, allowing us to reduce our monthly operating costs without negatively affecting our origination capabilities.”

Credit Store Inc. is a nationwide financial services company that markets credit cards to consumers who previously had had an interruption in the repayment of their debts and may be excluded from the more traditional sources of consumer finance. The Company uses sophisticated methods to analyze, value and purchase portfolios of non-performing consumer debt from major institutional lenders at a substantial discount. The Company then uses its direct marketing expertise to contact and negotiate settlements with the consumer, most of the time placing the settlement on the new unsecured credit cards offered through The Credit Store. The Company offers an innovative and practical way for the consumer to rebuild their creditworthiness and gain access to an unsecured credit card.

Credit Store Inc.’s stock trades on the Electronic Bulletin Board under the symbol “PLCR”. The unaudited consolidated financial statements for the quarter and six months ending Nov. 30, 1997 are available from the Company upon request.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve uncertainties, including, but not limited to, risks and uncertainties related to financing, timing and management of growth, historic and future default and delinquency rates and losses, the market for and market value of the Company’s credit card receivables, the competitive environment and other risks. Future trends and results may differ materially from disclosures contained in this release.

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Biz Cards Pay

A Mellon Bank national study of corporate acceptance of purchasing card programs has found a satisfaction rate of  92%. Additional findings of the marketing research survey show that 47% of nearly 600 randomly selected large-corporate and government entities across the U.S. currently use a purchasing card program.  Another 16 percent of the entities surveyed intend to implement a program eventually. Previous industry studies indicate small purchases represent 80 percent of most companies’ purchase volumes, but only 20 percent of their purchase dollars.  However, the cost of operating traditional purchasing systems often ranges between $50 and $150 per purchase.

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