Belco Patent

Belco System Technologies filed for patents in Canada, Mexico and Europe yesterday for its ‘Personal Reader Contact Technology’. Belco currently holds a U.S. patent on the ‘PRCT’ product which is a remote 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. Belco says its technology will eliminate the fraud problem of stolen credit card numbers overheard verbally.

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Associates Buys Beneficial Canada

Beneficial Corporation announced Tuesday afternoon a definitive agreement to sell its Canadian subsidiary, Beneficial Canada Holdings Inc., to Associates First Capital Corporation. The sale is subject to corporate and regulatory approvals. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, although Beneficial expects to record a net aftertax gain of more than $100 million in the first quarter.

Beneficial Canada has 105 offices and C$1.1 billion in net receivables.

In October, Beneficial Corporation announced that, as a result of a recent strategic review, it would sell its Canadian and German consumer finance subsidiaries and focus on its core U.S. consumer financial services businesses, including consumer finance, related credit insurance, private-label credit card, and its highly profitable United Kingdom and Irish operations. The company also plans to sell certain real estate holdings in New Jersey and Florida. A contract for sale of 580 acres of land in Peapack Gladstone and Bedminister, N.J., was announced on Jan. 30.

Proceeds from the sale will be reinvested in the core business, which is currently in the midst of a major reengineering project designed to improve loan growth, increase efficiency and significantly improve profitability. The proceeds will also effectively finance the company’s current 3 million-share equity repurchase program.

Beneficial Corporation is a $17 billion, New York Stock Exchange-listed financial services holding company. Subsidiaries of the Company provide financial services through their various consumer finance, credit- card, banking and insurance operations located throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Germany.

OFFICIAL  STATEMENT FROM ASSOCIATES

Associates First Capital Corporation announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Beneficial Canada Holdings Incorporated, the Canadian consumer finance subsidiary of Beneficial Corporation.  The acquisition is subject to regulatory and corporate approvals.  Terms were not disclosed.

Beneficial Canada has 105 offices and C$1.1 billion in net receivables. The acquisition will significantly expand The Associates consumer finance network across Canada, according to Keith W. Hughes, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“Beneficial has a branch distribution network that serves consumers in all 10 provinces.  Its diverse portfolio and emphasis on quality customer service fit well with our existing consumer and commercial finance operations in Canada,” Mr. Hughes said.  “Beneficial has experienced management and an excellent employee base that we are pleased to welcome to our organization.”

The Beneficial portfolio includes mortgage loans, personal loans, private label credit card and sales finance receivables.

The Associates has had lending operations in Canada for more than 20 years.  It currently provides consumer and commercial financing in Canada, including the financing and leasing of trucks, heavy equipment and telecommunications equipment.  In 1997, The Associates acquired Superior Acceptance Corporation, which added 91 offices to the consumer branch network.

With the acquisition of Beneficial Canada, The Associates will have 635,000 customers and total net receivables of C$2.8 billion in Canada.  It will be the largest foreign-owned diversified finance company in Canada.

Associates First Capital Corporation is the largest publicly traded finance company in the United States, providing consumer and commercial finance, leasing and related services through 2,265 offices in the U.S. and internationally.  Based in Dallas, it is a majority-owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company.

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New Prepaid Terminal

Atlanta-based LDC Direct announced it has begun shipments of the new ‘LDC 384’ POS terminal – a system for delivering prepaid telecommunications services at the retail level. Using the ‘LDC 384’, retailers can simultaneously offer long distance cards, prepaid cellular and PCS service, prepaid paging and more from a single device with unprecedented levels of security. The LDC system consists of a credit-card style terminal with an integrated printer that is capable of printing a prepaid card in multiple languages and activating the card’s PIN number within 3 seconds at the time of sale. Because the cards have no value until they are activated, they are able to be displayed in high traffic impulse areas such as countertops and aisle displays without any fear of theft.  This same level of security enables the retailer to have an unlimited inventory of PIN numbers yet only pay for what they sell. The LDC Direct system can process cards for a variety of prepaid services and because it doesn’t require a phone call to activate the card, the transaction takes only a few seconds saving time at the checkout stand.  New services such as transit tickets, prepaid gasoline and overnight package delivery are easily added and prices can be changed almost instantly to adapt to specific market conditions.

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Prepaid Debit Network

Siemens Telecom Network is launching a new prepaid debit card service platform for telephone service providers. Unlike current add-on solutions, the Siemens prepaid debit card service is a network-wide solution, hosted on a single integrated platform that is industry standard AIN 0.1/0.2-based and can be connected to any switch with AIN capability, and can accommodate massive debit card volumes. Siemens’ ‘Prepaid Debit Card’ service will be available in March.

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Free Personal Websites for I-Banking

Marshall & Ilsley Corporation announced the launch of its new Internet Banking service and free personal web site promotion. M&I Internet Banking gives customers access to their account information on the Internet using a secure connection from the M&I Bank home page.

M&I Internet Banking allows customers to perform a variety of transactions including reviewing account balances, transferring funds between accounts and paying bills from the comfort of their home or office.  M&I Internet Banking offers instant free access to account information 24 hours a day.  When customers use the convenient automatic bill pay feature, they are charged only .35 per bill, just over the price of a postage stamp.

M&I Internet Banking users will connect to the Internet through their Internet Service Provider (ISP).  They will then need a four-digit user name and a password to access their account information.  Additional security is provided by the user’s browser (such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Explorer) and a state-of-the-art virtual vault system supplied by M&I Data Services.

Free Personal Web Sites on MiWeb!

To promote the release of this new product, M&I is offering a free personal web site for anyone regardless of whether they are a current M&I customer.  MiWeb is the first Internet community sponsored by a bank.

When current customers or non customers access MiWeb, on the Internet, they can set up their own personal home page and use it for 60 days. After this free trial period, people who sign up for either M&I’s free Internet Banking or PC Banking services will continue to enjoy the use of their free personal web site.

Signing up for a free, do-it-yourself web page is a simple web connection away!  MiWeb gives Internet users the opportunity to set up their own personal web site quickly and easily.  MiWeb users have complete control over how their web site looks.  By using the edit feature, users will personalize their site to fit their needs.  MiWeb contains a 12-image photo bank or users can download photos from their computer or the Internet.  From their personal web site they can receive e-mails or post personal news and other information they want to communicate to their family and friends.  They can also feature photos of their children, pets or family events to keep loved ones up to date and post important events such as birthdays and anniversaries on their web calendar.  Additionally, they can take the opportunity to have a “chat” with other members of the MiWeb Community through the chat room feature.  This capability to communicate on a real-time basis is of tremendous value to families and friends who are scattered throughout the world.

Features also include ease of use, ISP independence, and one megabyte of storage.  MiWeb home pages are licensed for private use and entertainment. All MiWeb web sites are periodically scanned for inappropriate material.

Both M&I Internet Banking and MiWeb are designed to be very user-friendly products, with on-line help and easy-to-follow instructions.  Additional technical support is also available by e-mailing M&I Bank or by calling M&I Direct, M&I’s 24-hour call service center at 888-464-5463 (press 9, then press 5).

PC Banking Charges Eliminated

In addition to the roll out of Internet Banking, M&I is no longer charging monthly access fees for its recently upgraded personal PC Banking product. Customers will only be charged .35 per bill when using the bill-paying feature.  PC Banking offers the same features as Internet Banking through software installed on the user’s personal computer.

For more information on these products, access , , or call 888-464-5463.

Marshall & Ilsley Corporation, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., has $19.5 billion in assets.  The Corporation has 26 affiliate banks in Wisconsin with more than 225 offices, and a bank in Phoenix, Arizona with 12 offices. Marshall & Ilsley Corporation stock is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol “MRIS.”

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CAMS II

Computer Sciences Corporation rolled out its new integrated ‘Card and Merchant System’ or  ‘CAMS II’ yesterday.  The first release of the software has been delivered to three major financial institutions.  ‘CAMS II’ allows account holders to access a single cardholder account using multiple types of cards.  Customers can have international network branded credit and debit cards as well as cards that access regional ATM/POS networks managed from the same account. The system is a 24 x 7 real time DB2 application with a processing design that allows high-volume transaction throughput. The CSC system supports an unlimited range of pricing and fee options, with automatic management of rate reductions and adjustments.  Multiple balances, and promotional and transaction level pricing are supported.  The system also supports multiple loyalty and customer reward programs. CAMS II is also a multinational, multicurrency system that provides separate language options for financial services organizations and their customers. International compliance with the VISA, MasterCard and Europay network regulation is guaranteed.

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VISA & VF Sponsor Biz Conf

Ariba Technologies Inc., announced the second Operating Resource Management Supplier Summit, to be held on March 24, 1998 in Santa Clara California.  The invitation-only event, co-sponsored by Federal Express Corp., VeriFone, and Visa, promises suppliers a lively and interactive venue to discuss requirements with the technology and logistics companies that link them to users of operating resources.

“We have found that suppliers as well as buyers benefit when buying organizations adopt systems for managing operating resources,” said Keith Krach, President and CEO at Ariba.  “Operating Resource Management Systems increase a supplier’s revenue by enabling buyers to concentrate purchasing, while simultaneously lowering overall transaction costs.”

The sponsors of the ORM Supplier Summit, Ariba, Federal Express (NYSE FDX), VeriFone (NYSE VFI), and Visa each support a different part of the operating resource supply chain

— Ariba’s ORMS enables buying organizations to manage the acquisition of        operating resources and concentrate purchases with approved suppliers,

— FedEx offers business solutions that combine the power of the leading        global transportation network with world-wide information systems,        express logistics capabilities and Internet commerce,

— VeriFone, an industry leader in payment system solutions, provides        merchants with the technology to facilitate SET based Internet payment        transactions, which offer the highest available level of security and        reliability,

— Visa, through its Purchasing Card, enables buyers and sellers to        conclude financial transactions with unprecedented efficiency.

Together, these vendors can connect buyers and sellers of operating resources in an efficient and completely closed-loop system.

“The electronic commerce solutions offered by FedEx are focused on helping customers find optimum methods for managing inventory and distribution,” said Rohan Champion, Vice-President, Strategy & Alliances, Federal Express.  “Ariba Supplier Summits are an excellent venue for suppliers to examine leading-edge technologies that can link them to users of operating resources management systems.”

“VeriFone’s participation in Ariba’s supplier summit is an opportunity to educate key suppliers on emerging business-to-business Internet payment solutions,” said George Hoyem, VeriFone V.P. and General Manager of the Internet Commerce Division.  “As one of the key components of Internet payment, VeriFone’s SET based vPOS merchant software allows businesses to conduct Internet transactions securely and reliably.”

“With the resources of the Visa Purchasing Card and Ariba’s software solutions, buyers and sellers can reliably and securely connect and conduct business online,” said Ryan Ross, vice president of commercial commerce for Visa U.S.A.  “These summits will help suppliers discover new ways to maximize the value they receive from operating resource management solutions.”

The ORM Supplier Summit is held three times a year.  The purpose of the meeting is to exchange information on requirements and the state of the industry.  Although the event is an invitation-only meeting, companies and parties that have a vested interest in the topic should contact Ariba via e-mail at summit_info@ariba.com.

Federal Express Corp.

Federal Express connects areas that generate 90% of the world’s gross domestic product in 24-48 hours with door-to-door, customs-cleared service and a money-back guarantee.  The company’s unmatched air route authorities and infrastructure make it the world’s largest express transportation company, providing fast, reliable, and time-definite transportation of 3 million items to 211 countries each working day.

FedEx employs approximately 140,000 people and has more than 43,000 drop-off locations, 600 aircraft and 39,500 vehicles in its integrated global network.  The company maintains electronic connections with more than 850,000 customers via FedEx Powership(R), FedEx Ship(R) and FedEx interNetShip(SM).  Federal Express reported revenues of $11.5 billion for its fiscal year ended May 31, 1997.  The FedEx Internet address is .

VeriFone

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

Visa

Visa is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide.  It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy.  Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year.  Visa’s nearly 600 million cards are accepted at more than 14 million worldwide locations, including 380,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network.  The Visa Internet address is .

Ariba

Ariba is the leader in Operating Resource Management (ORM) solutions for Global 2000 corporations.  The company’s products deliver a high Return on Investment through reduced ORM transaction costs and improved management of the acquisition of the goods and services required to operate a company.  The products leverage the Internet and intranets to connect buyers to suppliers and thin-client network computing to make deployment to every desktop possible.  The Ariba Internet address is .

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NOVUS Cards for Calif. Taxes

The State Board of Equalization announced Monday a new service that taxpayers can use to pay their sales and use tax. Starting March 1, 1998, taxpayers will be able to make their sales and use tax payments using credit cards issued by NOVUS (for example the NOVUS/Discover card). The following conditions apply

— NOVUS will charge a fee of $4 to $18 per transaction, depending on the amount charged.

— You may charge only the taxes that are due with your sales and use tax return, including prepayment forms.

— You may not charge tax liabilities for which you have been billed by the Board.

— You may not charge your tax payment if you are required to pay by electronic funds transfer (EFT).

— Other credits cards are not being accepted at this time.

To charge your sales and use tax return payment

1. First, complete your return or prepayment form to determine how much tax is due.

2. Then using your touch-tone telephone, call toll-free at 800/477-4141 and follow the recorded instructions. Have your return or prepayment form containing your seller’s permit number available when you call. At the end of your call, you will be asked to authorize or cancel your transaction.

3. After authorizing the payment and receiving your confirmation number, check the box on your return or prepayment form indicating you have paid by credit card.

4. Sign and mail your completed return or prepayment form in the envelope enclosed with your return.

If you have any questions about this new service, please call the Board’s Information Center at 800/400-7115. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding State holidays.

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FaceOff

Miros Inc. and Mr. Payroll Corp. announced Monday the the next wave of ATMs integrating face recognition technology into automated check-cashing machines. The Miros ‘TrueFace’ technology, currently in use in over 35 check-cashing machines since June 1997, will be integrated into all upcoming installations over a three year period. Recent alliances with Bank of America, BancOne, Kroger and Wells Fargo will yield additional licenses. Customers using the Mr. Payroll automated check-cashing machines simply choose their choice of language, then enter a social security number. Two cameras then capture a stereo view of the customer’s face, making fraudulent attempts with a photograph impossible. The live video image is then compared to a previously enrolled picture in the database. The match is based on a scale of zero to ten, with ten being a perfect match and a selected score halting the transaction. The varying degrees of matches allow the customer to alter his/her looks, such as growing a beard, getting a hair cut, or gaining/losing weight. The entire process takes only seconds. The technology also allows for an audit trail, notifying the customer of any crooked attempts at check-cashing. The automated check-cashing machines have successfully cashed more than 50,000 checks since June 1997, when the first machine was installed in a convenience store in Fort Worth, TX.

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SFNB to Add 29 I-Banks

Security First Technologies and M&I Data Services, a division of the Marshall & Ilsley Corp., announced that M&I Data Services has implemented Internet banking systems for 11 financial institutions representing 19 banks in a M&I supported service bureau environment.

According to M&I Data Services officials, six other institutions representing 29 banks have contracted with them for Internet banking and are in the process of implementation, in anticipation of launching services in the first half of 1998.  The 11 institutions currently offering Internet banking services utilize software applications developed by S1, a wholly owned subsidiary of Security First Network Bank (SFNB), the first bank in the world to launch fully functional banking and other financial management services over the Internet.

Nancy Langer, vice president and general manager of M&I Data Services Home Banking said, “Our customers rely on us to provide them with the most advanced systems for delivering a brandable solution for Internet banking.  The Virtual Bank Manager application developed by S1 offers our customers the ability to deliver a customized, Internet-based branch that in turn, encourages their customers to maintain and expand relationships.”

“We’re delighted that M&I Data Services has so many financial institutions serving customers over the Internet,” said James S. Mahan, III, chief executive officer of S1.  “Even more exciting are the 6 additional institutions planning to launch soon.  Bank transaction processors and software integrators, such as M&I Data Services, are a crucial part of the distribution mix for our applications.”  Mahan added that S1 also licenses its software to financial institutions that run the system in-house, and to institutions who chose to run the processing in S1’s data center.

M&I Data Services utilizes S1’s Virtual Bank Manager(TM) application, which allows institutions to offer their customers access to their information anytime, from any personal computer or other device that provides Internet access.  M&I Data Services provides all of the production, security and service components necessary in running this advanced Internet platform.

As a leading bank processor and system software integrator in the country, M&I Data Services processes transactions for more than 800 banks and provides home banking products and services to more than 300 financial institutions. In addition, M&I Data Services drives more than 5,400 ATM terminals for more than 700 financial institutions, and processes over 44 million transactions through their EFT (electronic funds transfer) switch monthly.

M&I Data Services offers advanced software and processing services to financial institutions worldwide.  The company is a division of Marshall & Ilsley Corp., a $19.5 billion holding company.  Both are headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  For more information on products and services from M&I Data Services, visit their web site at or .

Security First Technologies (S1) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the world’s first Internet bank, Security First Network Bank (Nasdaq SFNB.)  S1 develops integrated, brandable Internet applications that enable financial institutions to offer products, services and transactions over the Internet in a secure environment.  S1 also offers strategic business consulting and marketing support, training, product integration, and customer and data service center outsourcing.  S1, through direct sales and channel partnerships, provides software applications and technology to 68 financial entities, including 17 of the top 100 U.S. financial institutions.

Forward-looking statements

Statements in this news release concerning future results, performance, expectations or intentions are forward-looking statements.  Actual results, performance or developments may differ materially from forward-looking statements as a result of known or unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including those identified in the company’s prospectus dated May 3, 1996 and those described from time to time in the company’s other filings with the Office of Thrift Supervision, press releases and other communications.

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