Mall VIP Visa Promo

Cardholders of the ‘Mall VIP Visa Card’ will receive a commemorative ‘VISA Olympic’ pin for VISA purchases of $25 or more at Simon DeBartolo’s 131 malls nationwide. The exclusive promotion is latest in a series of customer-designed programs between VISA and DeBartolo’s Simon Brand Ventures unit. VISA says its partnership with the shopping mall king will also open up a testing ground for smart cards and electronic gift certificates.

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Advanta Prices New Card Bond

Advanta Corp. announced Tuesday that Advanta National Bank, its wholly-owned subsidiary, has priced a $1.15 billion credit card securitization transaction.

The closing is expected to be Feb. 6, 1998.

The transaction, Series 1998-A, consists of three classes of uncapped floating-rate certificates which will be issued by Advanta Credit Card Master Trust II. The senior Class A Certificates, representing $966 million in receivables, will have an expected average life of approximately three years.

The coupon rate for Class A will reset monthly and will equal one-month LIBOR plus four basis points. The $86.25 million in subordinated Class B Certificates will have an expected average life of approximately three years carrying a coupon that will reset monthly equaling one-month LIBOR plus 24 basis points.

The Certificates were priced at a discount with the Class A Certificates priced at 99.81% and the Class B Certificates priced at 99.80%. Salomon Smith Barney is the lead underwriter for the Class A Certificates and is joined by J.P. Morgan & Co., Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. and Chase Securities Inc. as co-managers. J.P. Morgan & Co. is the sole underwriter for the Class B Certificates.

In addition to the publicly offered Certificates, a subordinated interest which will provide credit enhancement for both the Class A and Class B Certificates will be sold in a private placement.

This credit card securitization is the company’s 18th issuance out of Master Trust II, which will bring the total outstanding from Master Trust II to over $8.8 billion.

The Class A Certificates are expected to be rated “AAA” by Standard & Poor’s, “Aaa” by Moody’s and “AAA” by Fitch; the Class B Certificates are expected to be rated “A” by Standard & Poor’s, “A2” by Moody’s and “A” by Fitch. Advanta National Bank will retain the servicing and customer relationships of the credit card accounts.

With over six million customers, $21 billion in managed assets and 4,400 employees, Advanta is a financial services enterprise that serves consumers and small businesses through innovative offerings of credit cards, mortgages, leases, insurance and deposit products.

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.

The most significant among these risks and uncertainties are: (1) factors that affect consumer debt; (2) competitive pressures; and (3) 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.

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Mid-Size Players Part II

Growth rates for mid-size players within the $200 million to $500 million peer group reflect overall increases posted by smaller mid-size players. Among this segment secured card issuer First Consumers National Bank posted the strongest gain. Non-bank issuers Beneficial and Nordstrom experienced some erosion. Several regional players posted solid gains.

       ISSUER               97 EOY RECV          96 EOY RECV          CHG
       First Security      $205,686,368         $201,115,385          +2%
       Beneficial           223,000,000          237,000,000          -5%   
       Nordstrom            227,500,000          233,000,000          -2%
       SouthTrust           234,997,271          199,857,308          +17%
       Compass (AL)         250,859,224          199,610,339          +25%
       Frst Consumers       287,030,146          221,251,796          +29%
       Bancorp Hawaii       288,620,420          290,615,220          NC
       Fifth Third          351,000,000          381,000,000          -7%
       BB&T                 358,466,878          293,346,315          +22%
       Star Banc            436,100,000          418,783,000          +4%
       Banponce             440,563,795          359,100,071          +22%
       AmSouth              449,615,207          478,931,140          -6%
       GROUP TOTAL          $3,753,439,309       $3,513,610,574       +6%
              Source Bankcard Update/CardData Jan 98 issue

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GlobeSet SET Online

GlobeSet, Inc. has announced that its SET Secure Electronic Transaction 1.0 product suite is now accessible on a website to other SET vendors for interoperability testing. Located at , the site reconfirms GlobeSet’s leading role as a pro-active agent for increased interoperability throughout the SET industry.

To verify full interoperability, vendors can run test messages between their SET(TM) applications and GlobeSet’s electronic wallet, point-of-sale (POS), financial processor gateway, and certificate authority applications. The test site is accessible through password to any SET(TM) vendor in the industry.

The SET Secure Electronic Transaction(TM) protocol supports secure credit card transactions over the Internet. Software interoperability is critical because a SET(TM) transaction requires four different applications a digital certificate authority (CA) application that generates and issues digital identification certificates, a payment gateway application connecting the merchant to the payment processor’s legacy systems, a merchant point-of-sale (POS) application, and a cardholder’s electronic wallet. A vendor like GlobeSet can supply all four of these components. However, many SET(TM) installations today use software from multiple vendors, hence the importance of proven interoperability among SET(TM) applications.

As a major OEM provider of SET(TM) software, GlobeSet has established a strong record of interoperability in the industry. In June, 1997, GlobeSet applications interoperated with SET(TM) applications from American Express and GTE to help make possible the first North American SET(TM) transaction in the first SET pilot, conducted for the Wal-Mart Online store. In a subsequent phase of the same pilot, the GlobeSet POS application interoperated with wallet, gateway and CA applications from IBM.

The GlobeSet interoperability test site has been established in the spirit of other major industry efforts supporting the SET(TM) software standard managed by SET Secure Electronic Transaction LLC, an entity recently formed by Visa and MasterCard, which will be jointly owned with American Express and Japan’s JCB. SET Secure Electronic Transaction LLC has been established for the management of the “root key” for SET(TM) digital certificates, compliance testing, and future versions of the SET(TM) protocol. It also oversees maintenance and enforcement of the SET(TM) trademarks, the use of which is granted under license to software vendors and merchants who successfully pass compliance testing.

“We encourage any effort that advances interoperability and allows SET vendors to test their programs against each other,” said Steve Mott, MasterCard’s senior vice president, electronic commerce/new ventures. “We believe efforts like these from GlobeSet and others ultimately will increase the efficiency and performance of SET in the marketplace.”

“Visa applauds GlobeSet for their ongoing efforts to make SET a true global e-commerce standard and for providing a venue for vendors to test interoperability of their SET solutions,” said Steve Herz, senior vice president – Internet commerce, Visa International. “SET will continue to gain momentum in the marketplace because of organizations like GlobeSet and their commitment to interoperability,” added Herz.

“True SET interoperability means more than agreement between two vendors,” said Dennis Jolly, vice president, sales and operations at GlobeSet. “It means proving that your products will work anytime, anywhere, with any SET-compliant application in the marketplace. That’s why we applaud efforts such as SETco to manage industrywide technology. We also want to formally invite the entire SET software industry to make use of our site to facilitate interoperability efforts. As an OEM provider, we have always been focused on interoperable solutions for our channel partners and their customers. Now we can pave the way for vendors around the world to achieve full interoperability for SET products. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

About GlobeSet

GlobeSet is a world leader in SET Secure Electronic Transaction(TM) software solutions for secure, credit card transactions over the Internet. The company provides applications for the electronic wallet, the merchant point of sale, the financial processing gateway, and the certificate authority. GlobeSet is a member of the SET(TM) protocol design team, and has been at the forefront of SET(TM) development since its inception. General availability for GlobeSet SET(TM) products was announced December 10th, 1997. GlobeSet is a strategic SET(TM) solution provider for Tandem Computers, a Compaq Company. GlobeSet also provides SET(TM) solutions to Hypercom Corporation and Sun Microsystems. Founded in 1994, GlobeSet is a privately held corporation headquartered in Austin, Texas. Additional information on GlobeSet is available on the World Wide Web at .

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BAMS First Year

BA Merchant Services’ processing volume grew 28% in its first year as a public company. BAMS says the strong growth reflects the success of their direct sales efforts. During 1997 BAMS opened eight new sales offices and increased its sales staff by 51%. BAMS also pushed hard into the East Coast and mid-West regions. BAMS also picked up a 4,200 merchant portfolio from First Data Systems during the third quarter which is now producing an annual credit card sales volume of $850 million.

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ARKSYS in Haiti

ARKSYS announced an agreement with Sogebank (Societe Generale Haitienne de Banque S.A.) of Port- Au-Prince, Haiti, to provide its Integrated Credit Card System software to enable the bank to issue and process credit cards, and manage merchant POS transactions.

Established in 1986, Sogebank, one of Haiti’s most progressive banks, is the only bank in Haiti to offer proprietary ATM services.  The bank’s retail delivery operations also include ARKSYS’ ATM Management, POS Management and EFT network connections to Visa and MasterCard.  ARKSYS’ products are linked via common modules to a centralized database or card management system. ARKSYS’ software operates on the IBM AS/400 platform.

Sogebank’s credit card solution features a comprehensive card account database, as well as transaction posting, settlement, collections, reporting and security capabilities.

ARKSYS, a privately-held software company headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, is a premier provider of effective payment and financial transaction delivery systems.  The company offers comprehensive ATM, POS, debit and smart card packages, EFT network solutions, interactive voice response, international credit card systems, and Internet and intranet cash management, home banking, bill payment and presentment offerings.

ARKSYS’ home page address is .

ARKSYS, Integrated Transaction Management and ITM are trademarks of Arkansas Systems, Inc.

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Tomorrow’s Smart Cards

The key driver for smart card acceptance is the ability to support multiple applications including both contact and contactless operations. The problem is most of the contact smart cards in use for banking and retail are too slow to deliver contactless applications where transactions must be executed in fractions of a second. Yesterday Hitachi announced it has licensed ‘FRAM’ technology from Racom and Ramtron to produce the next generation of smart cards to provide the speeds necessary for tomorrow’s smart card applications. Currently smart cards use a mix of dissimilar memory technologies such as ‘ROM’, ‘SRAM’ and ‘EEPROM’. ‘FRAMs’ are as fast as ‘SRAM’, potentially as dense as ‘DRAM’ and 20,000 times faster than ‘EEPROM’. ‘FRAM’ also uses one millionth the power currently needed for smart cards. ‘MULTOS’ and ‘Java Card’ can also be enhanced with ‘FRAM’ as it removes the unnatural, fixed partitions and performance limitations that bind users to proprietary combinations of smart card hardware and software.

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AmEx Card Chief Joins GT Board

Phillip J. Riese, President of the Consumer Card Services Group for American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., has joined the Board of Directors of GT Interactive Software Corp. , a leading global entertainment software company.

“Phillip’s diverse global business experience leading one of the world’s most influential and successful corporations will be invaluable as we continue to grow GT Interactive as a leader in interactive entertainment,” said Joseph Cayre, chairman of GT Interactive.

“Phillip’s addition to our Board of Directors reflects our strategy of attracting proven leaders in their fields whose business acumen will augment our growth on a worldwide basis,” added Ron Chaimowitz, president and chief executive officer of GT Interactive. “We are pleased to have Phillip further strengthen and contribute to our board as we move our company forward.”

“I am excited about joining GT Interactive’s board for two principle reasons,” said Riese. “The first is that GT Interactive has had a phenomenal growth and profit trajectory and I’m looking forward to helping them shape their continued success. In addition, while the target audience and business environment is very different from that of the financial services industry, brand names, consumer loyalty and market segmentation are essential. As a result, I know that I will be challenged to bring my consumer marketing experience to bear in new and interesting ways.”

Riese, 48, is responsible for developing and marketing all U.S. consumer charge and credit cards. In addition, he is responsible for managing the service on both U.S. consumer and corporate cards, customer information management and risk management in the U.S. He is also Chairman of American Express Centurion Bank.

Riese joined American Express in 1980 from Chase Manhattan where he served as Division Executive of the Bank’s Merchant Service Division Visa and MasterCard businesses. Riese was a partner in M.C. Geffen Associates, an international consulting firm headquartered in Capetown, South Africa.

Riese holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Leeds University, an M.B.A. from the University of Capetown, and a Masters degree in Management from M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management.

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.

Headquartered in NY, GT Interactive Software Corp. is a leading global publisher of entertainment and edutainment software under the GT Interactive, Cavedog Entertainment, SingleTrac, Humongous Entertainment and MacSoft brands for personal computers as well as video game systems from Sony, Nintendo and Sega. GT Interactive is a leader in value-priced software under the WizardWorks, CompuWorks and Slash brands. Located on the World Wide Web at , GT Interactive is publicly traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol GTIS.

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Frst Natl Omaha in Y2K Biz

First Technology Solutions announced yesterday that it will begin marketing Year 2000 services nationwide through First National Bank of Omaha’s BANK to BANK program.  The Year 2000 services will be primarily focused on an organization’s computer systems including LAN/WAN, midrange and mainframe environments.  BANK to BANK focuses on providing community banks traditional and innovative banking products to keep them competitive and independent.

First Technology Solutions services include hardware and software impact analysis, inventory of existing hardware and applications, and conversion cost estimation.  Other services include risk assessment, organizational planning and project coordination for the organization.

First Technology Solutions can also provide remediation services to bring the organization’s computer environment within compliance.  In addition, FTS offers clean management services to keep the computer systems compliant through the year 2000.

For larger organizations, First Technology Solutions offers an exclusive family of software tools, Y2KSOLVR, for impact assessment, source code modification and clean management on midrange and mainframe computers. Y2KSOLVR was developed within First National Bank of 0maha to complete their Year 2000 analysis.

“Use of the Y2KSOLVR suite of tools and its testing methodology saved the bank millions of dollars in completing our remediation effort.  We were able to complete our effort at least six months earlier than the proposal from a major vendor with less than 1/5 of the resources.  You have to see these tools to believe what they can do.  The methodology used for enterprise testing is truly unique,” said Clayton Marsh, Vice President of Systems Development at First National Bank of Omaha.

First Technology Solutions is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National has more than 6.1 million customers, more than $7.3 billion in assets, is a top 25 Visa and MasterCard issuer and a top 10 Visa and MasterCard processor.

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CarCareONE

Banc One rolled out a new credit card yesterday for auto dealerships and other auto service providers to offer customers special financing for car repairs and accessories. ‘CarCareONE’ offers instant credit for qualified customers and offers a discounted merchant processing rate compared to other general purpose credit cards. The ‘CarCareONE’ credit card features a 90- day, same-as-cash program on purchases over $150, a 25-day grace period on purchases under $150 and no annual fee. The card also includes a free emergency roadside assistance program providing free jump starts, towing, tire change, fluid replacement, and lock- out service. Banc One introduced the card at the NADA convention in New Orleans Monday.

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