AmEx Exits Phone Cards

American Express agreed yesterday to sell its American Express Telecom unit to SmartTalk Teleservices, Inc. for $44 million. As part of the agreement SmarTalk will become the exclusive provider of a co-branded calling card for American Express. AmEx says it still believes prepaid phone cards have significant potential but the company has decided to focus its efforts on the marketing and distribution aspects of the business. American Express Telecom has been no slouch as it established a distribution network of 14,000 locations. AmEx’s most successful phone card is the ‘FirstClass PhoneCards’ sold through the U.S. Postal Service.


Cap One Hits Targets

Capital One Financial Corporation announced Monday that it expects earnings to exceed analysts’ expectations for the fourth quarter of 1997 and the year ending December 31, 1997.

For the full year, the Company now expects to report earnings 20 percent higher than the 1996 earnings of $2.30 per share. This is above the 15 percent increase indicated by the Company in September of this year. The 1997 earnings growth performance will mark the third consecutive year of 20 percent earnings growth for Capital One, since its spin-off from Signet Bank at the end of 1994. The Company also announced that it has reaffirmed its targets of 20% earnings growth and return on equity (ROE) for 1998.

Richard D. Fairbank, Capital One’s Chairman and CEO, said, “The improved earnings outlook is due to the success of our marketing innovations as well as a more positive credit outlook. We are happy to achieve another consecutive year of 20 percent earnings growth, and the outlook for sustaining this growth trajectory is very positive.”

Appointment of New Stock Transfer Agent

The Company is also very pleased to announce that First Chicago Trust Company of New York has assumed the duties of Stock Transfer Agent and Registrar as of December 15, 1997. As the new Stock Transfer Agent and Registrar, First Chicago will also act as the administrator of the Company’s Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan and as the Rights Agent for the Company’s Shareholder Rights Plan. Stockholders may contact First Chicago with any questions about their accounts at 1-800-446-2617.

The Company cautions that its current expectations for earnings are forward-looking statements and actual results could differ materially from current expectations due to a number of factors, including the number of delinquent accounts and the dollar amount of charge-offs actually experienced by the Company’s credit card portfolio.

Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation () is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer financial products and services to consumers. Capital One’s subsidiaries collectively had 10.7 million customers as of September 30, 1997, and are among the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the United States.


Parting Company

Barnett Banks, NationsBank and Household Credit Services made it official yesterday: they are terminating the alliance in which Household managed the credit card business of Barnett. The relationship will end next week as $1.2 billion in card loans will revert back to Barnett and then to NationsBank in January as the two banks merge. Household agreed to handle the servicing and marketing of Barnett’s cardholders in Florida and Georgia following Household’s October 1996 acquisition of Barnett accounts located outside those two states.


NFCC Post Holiday Tips

Dread opening the mail to find holiday bills that need to be paid? If you are in this situation after the holidays this year, the National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC) can help. “Take a step in the right direction and make a commitment to pay off holiday bills,” says Durant Abernethy, president NFCC. “With some planning and adjustment of spending patterns you can decrease holiday debt and begin to save for you financial goals.”

To help consumers tackle their holiday debt NFCC suggests taking these five steps:

Step #1 Track your spending. Write down everything you spend including the $2 for coffee and a Danish in the morning, the $1 for a soda and snack at the vending machine and the $5 for a child’s school field trip. After tracking your spending for a month you will have a good idea how and where you money is being spent.

Step #2 Create a budget. A budget includes categories for spending such as housing, utilities, food, clothing, transportation. Have room in your budget for savings; no matter how small an amount, regular saving should be a goal.

Step #3 Reduce expenses. After determining your budget, look at the areas where you can trim expenses. Give up bottled water; use your public library instead of the local book store; consider dropping cable television. Also, cut back on day-to-day spending; taking your lunch instead of buying could quickly save you $25 a week.

Step #4 Decrease debt. Determine how much you owe and commit to paying off your debt as quickly as possible. You may need to make some temporary sacrifices to accomplish this goal. Do not charge anything new until your debt is paid. If you do charge, have a plan to pay it off within 90 days.

Step #5 Increase saving. A savings plan is the best way to achieve financial stability. Save for emergencies, major household repairs, taxes or holiday expenses to help you avoid incurring additional debt.


Banc One Deploys 1000+ Cash Dispensers

Diebold, Incorporated today announced that Banc One Corporation has purchased more than 1,000 of its 1064i cash dispensers as part of an ongoing plan to boost installation of cash dispensers at retail locations nationwide.

The machines, which feature a thermal printer able to print high- resolution graphics and a color monitor, are being installed in Circle K convenience stores in the southern and western portions of the United States. About half of the machines are already installed and the remainder will be in place by the end of 1997.

“This order represents the latest step in our ongoing partnership with Banc One,” says Thomas J. McBride, director of worldwide product marketing for Diebold. “Diebold continues to provide innovative self-service solutions to support our customers’ strategic initiatives.”

Over the last several months, Banc One has been increasing its network of Rapid Cash automated cash dispensing machines through contracts with major retailers. With the expansion of their ATM program, Circle K joins several other large retailers in adding the cash dispensers in their stores.

“By partnering with a significant number of retailers, we can provide convenient access to cash for consumers and small business owners throughout the United States,” said Gregory L. Ford, convenience banking manager for Banc One Corporation.

The Circle K branded convenience stores are marketed by Tosco Marketing Company, the retail marketing division of Tosco Corporation (NYSE: TOS). Tosco Corporation is the nation’s largest operator of company owned convenience stores across the country.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Banc One Corporation is a $113 billion bank holding company that operates 1,200 bank branches in 12 states. Common equity in the company was $9.9 billion at the end of September 1997.

Diebold, Incorporated (pronounced DEE-bold), headquartered in Canton, Ohio, is a global leader in providing card-based transaction systems, security and service solutions to the financial, education and healthcare industries. Founded in 1859, the company develops, manufactures, sells and services automated teller machines, electronic and physical security equipment, automated medication dispensing systems, software, supplies and integrated systems solutions.


Largest E-Commerce Expo

The fourth annual Internet & Electronic Commerce Conference & Exposition (iEC) will focus its 1998 event exclusively on electronic commerce solutions. Returning for its fourth year, the GartnerGroup leads iEC with its high-level conference focusing on strategies for senior-level executives and decision makers. For the first time, GartnerGroup will be joined by the National Computer Security Association (NCSA), covering security issues; Forbes magazine, focusing on electronic commerce initiatives for small businesses and entrepreneurs; and VISA presenting its EC product strategy in a day-long workshop. In addition, iEC will launch the first technical skills conference for MIS and IT managers responsible for EC implementation, produced by Advanstar, the event’s organizer.

With more than 200 exhibits and 80 conference sessions, iEC is the nation’s largest event dedicated to electronic commerce. iEC will be held at New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on April 27-29, 1998 and is expected to attract well over 10,000 technology decision makers from around the world.

“With electronic commerce growing as never before, companies are changing the focus of their marketing strategies. With all the Internet events in the market, there is a need for one that clearly addresses the question `How do I make money through this EC thing?’ iEC is totally committed to answering that question — and answering it at all levels of the enterprise,” comments Rich Westerfield, show director for Advanstar, producer of the iEC event.

“The four conference programs individually target the key functions essential to electronic commerce implementation: the corporate team that provides the site funding and strategy; the marketing executives who integrate the commerce strategy into their mix; the MIS professionals responsible for network and transaction security and for overseeing network infrastructure; and of course, the Web site developers who wrap it all together in a user-friendly interface,” added Westerfield.

Industry leaders and analysts will offer their predictions, statistics and forecasts for the world of electronic commerce through an educational platform that caters to all corporate executives involved with the decision making and implementation of EC solutions.

– A strategic conference, conducted by GartnerGroup, will target senior-level executives and their role in electronic commerce. Panel discussions and keynote speakers will offer real-world practical analysis and visionary insights on a solid array of topics to help corporate decision-makers. Tracks will include Industry Electronic Commerce Case Studies, EC Over the Internet, Interactive Marketing and Online Financial Services.

– The iEC technical conference is designed to present middle managers and technology implementors with the information they need to make informed, educated choices, when choosing software solutions, hardware, and applications. iEC’s technical conference brings accessible, timely and useful information for IT managers who are responsible for implementing electronic commerce strategy within their companies. Topics will include “Server Operating Environments – Technical Choices,” “Web Hosting: Providing E-Commerce Added Value to ISP Customers,” “Java in Internet Commerce,” “WebEnabling R/3 Applications,” and “Voice/Video Over IP Networks: Theory and Practice.” The technical conference will also offer case studies including insight from E*Trade, U.S. Office Products, Bally Gamemaker, and the Wall Street Journal Interactive.

– The National Computer Security Association (which will be known as the International Computer Security Association effective on January 1, 1998) is conducting a conference dedicated to computer security issues. This interactive conference is structured as a practical complement to both the technical and strategic conference and will address the types of due diligence and care required for corporations to ensure the proper steps are taken to protect information. Aimed at technical MIS managers and implementors, this educational program will inform corporations of the dangers that lurk in new technology and how to avoid security problems.

“We believe that a company needs to develop an Internet security strategy as one of the key elements in their electronic commerce initiative,” explained Dr. Mich Kabay, director of education for the NCSA. “The conference sessions that we will offer at iEC will outline all of the areas that executives need to be looking at when choosing security measures including applications, cryptography, site certification, vendors and product manufacturers.”

– Forbes magazine will offer the fourth program focusing on how-to sessions on the best methods of implementing electronic commerce strategy for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

– VISA will also be holding a day-long conference to present its electronic commerce product strategy. More information on this conference will be forthcoming.

All conference attendees will be invited to hear four high-profile keynote speakers, Halsey Minor, chairman and CEO of CNET: The Computer Network; Jim McCann, president of 1-800-FLOWERS, Inc.; David Boyles, vice president of Smart Cards and Interactive Services at American Express Co., Inc.; and Michael S. Dell, chairman and chief executive officer for Dell Computer Corporation, all of whom are prepared to offer their insight into how to make conducting business on the Internet more profitable.

In addition to the conference sessions, attendees to iEC will be able to see the technologies discussed in the seminars on the trade show floor with over 200 vendors including sponsors AT&T, GE Information Services, IBM, KPMG, Manugistics, Mastercard, Peat Marwick, and UUNET, which will offer all of the latest products and services in a range of exhibits, from hardware manufacturers, to software developers and business integrators that can customize real-life solutions.

GartnerGroup, Inc. is the world’s leading independent advisor to business professionals making information technology (IT) decisions. It provides research, analysis and advice on strategies for users, purchasers and vendors of IT products and services with more than 450 analysts in 75 locations worldwide. GartnerGroup provides its more than 8,300 clients organizations and over 30,000 clients around the world with timely, strategic advice on the application, management, measurement, market research and direction of IT, and training on IT. Additional information is available on the World Wide Web at

Expocon, a division of Advanstar Communications, is a major producer of both domestic and international trade and consumer expositions and conferences as well as publisher of related industry directories. Expocon events cover a variety of industries including printing, electronics, publishing, entertainment, medical/health, computer, merchandising, licensing and advertising. In addition to iEC, Expocon produces other leading IT events, including iEC B2B, On Demand, and On Demand West. For more information about iEC contact Kit Hamilton, director of marketing for Expocon, at 203/256-4700 ext. 112. Or visit our Web site at


Card Debt Not Affecting Sales

High levels of consumer debt are not cutting into holiday sales for the overwhelming majority of Michigan retailers.

Seventy-five percent of retailers say high consumer credit card debt is not hurting their sales so far this season, according to a survey conducted by the Michigan Retailers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The monthly survey is used to compile the monthly Michigan Retail Index. For November the Index confirmed a good start to the holiday shopping season with 56 percent of the state’s retailers reporting higher sales than the same month last year. Another 17 percent said sales were the same as last year, meaning 73 percent recorded sales as good or better than the previous year.

“November was the fifth consecutive month that a majority of the state’s retailers recorded higher year-to-year sales,” said Larry Meyer, CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association and former director of the Michigan Department of Commerce. “The momentum of late summer and fall continued into the holiday season.”

He added, “Record consumer debt does not appear to be hurting sales. Consumers continue to use plastic because they are confident about the economy and their ability to increase their income in the coming year.”

According to the Federal Reserve, total consumer debt stood at a record $1.23 trillion in October, with revolving credit rising to an estimated $530 billion.

For November, gift retailers led Michigan’s retail industry, with 73 percent reporting sales increases. They were followed by jewelers, at 63 percent.

The Michigan Retailers Association is the unified voice of retailing in Michigan and the nation’s largest state trade association of general merchandise retailers. MRA’s 4,600 retail business members operate more than 9,000 stores across the state.

Michigan Retailers Association/Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Michigan Retail Index
November 1997 results

November Activity
(numbers in parentheses indicate October results)
% Increased % Decreased % No Change Responses
Sales 56(58) 27(27) 17(15) 289(290)
Inventory 49(49) 18(19) 33(32) 289(290)
Prices 16(15) 8 (8) 76(77) 288(290)
Promotions 36(31) 6 (5) 58(64) 288(289)
Hiring 14(18) 5 (6) 81(76) 288(289)

Expectations for Next 3 Months
(numbers in parenthesis indicate October results)
% Increased % Decreased % No Change Responses
Sales 54(73) 20(12) 26(15) 289(272)
Inventory 21(40) 41(25) 38(35) 288(270)
Prices 22(23) 10(4) 68(73) 288(270)
Promotions 32(51) 10(6) 58(43) 288(269)
Hiring 8(17) 7 (4) 85(79) 288(270)

November Sales Activity by Region
& Expectations for next Three Months
(numbers in parenthesis indicate expectations for next three months)
% Increased % Decreased % No Change
North 54(42) 29(31) 17(27)
West 69(53) 13(16) 18(31)
Central 39(46) 35(19) 26(35)
East 69(56) 25(19) 6(25)
Southeast 55(65) 28(18) 17(17)


iCat Goes SET

iCat Corporation announced Monday it will support Secure Electronic Transaction 1.0, the standard protocol for safeguarding credit card purchases made over the Internet. Unique to the industry, iCat is working with three of the SET frontrunners, IBM, VeriFone, and Outreach Communications, to offer merchants SET technology on a wide range of server platforms, including NT and Sun Solaris, as well as HP in the future. Merchants will choose from three different set-enabled ‘cash registers,’ including IBM’s CommercePOINT eTill, VeriFone’s vPOS, and Outreach’s SET cash register, giving them access to the broadest selection of financial institutions and processing firms in Europe, Asia, Canada, and the United States for secure credit card clearing.

“By making CommercePOINT eTill available to iCat and its customers, IBM provides a way to secure electronic commerce payments using the SET protocol. IBM is delighted at the opportunity to work with iCat in making the Internet more secure for e-business,” said Mark Greene, vice president of electronic payments and certification at IBM.

“SET represents another milestone in the development of e-commerce, and iCat is proud to be the only Internet catalog software vendor supporting these three SET leaders,” said Craig Danuloff, CEO and president of iCat. “IBM, VeriFone, and Outreach have been the pioneers in implementing the SET initiative, and have more than seventy-five percent of all the SET trials underway. We have also put in place educational programs and hardware agreements to help our ISP partners prepare for the demands of SET. With this strategy, merchants and hosts for the first time can choose the solution that best fits their existing infrastructure and financial relationships with our SET portfolio.”

“VeriFone is pleased that market leader iCat is including VeriFone’s vPOS as an integral part of its SET 1.0 enabled electronic commerce offerings,” said Dana Gauthier, VeriFone’s Director Sales, Americas. “This turnkey solution provides a complete, secure e-commerce system which will surely garner the confidence of consumers and merchants alike.”

Robert Lynch, CEO and president of Outreach Communications added, “Outreach’s focus, like iCat’s, is on the merchant. Outreach’s cash register includes a sophisticated Internet fraud protection module to further the safety for merchants conducting commerce over the Internet. That, coupled with an easy-to-use GUI, makes the iCat-Outreach combination a compelling solution for merchants.”

To further round out iCat’s SET strategy of integrating the payment software into the next version of iCat Electronic Commerce Suite, iCat has also teamed with server accelerator manufacturer, nCipher, and leading Internet Certification Authority, VeriSign.

VeriSign and iCat have inked a joint marketing agreement to promote and educate merchants on the issues surrounding SET, including authenticating consumers and managing digital certificates involved in electronic transactions.

On the hardware side, nCipher’s nFast is one of the first line of products on the market to provide flexible, scalable and cost-effective acceleration of cryptographic key processing for commerce and transaction servers. “By attaching one of nCipher’s cryptographic accelerators to the transaction server, shoppers in an iCat catalog will have much faster credit card processing,” said Alex van Someren, president of nCipher. “Our nFast accelerators will help online vendors adopt the highest levels of cryptographic security without having their servers bogged down processing cryptographic keys. By partnering with a leader like iCat, online businesses can have the confidence in the security of online transactions.”

In addition to the SET options, merchants who have built iCat catalogs can choose from many transaction option methods, including CyberCash, First USA Paymentech Inc., Open Market, First Virtual, InternetSecure, Atos, Tellan Software, and Kleline. The company has also partnered with 45 additional complementary technology vendors that add advanced functionality to the Web catalog, including order processing and fulfillment, accounting, and tax and shipping. For more information on the payment processing solutions as well as a complete list of the third party technologies integrated into iCat’s Suite, visit .

About iCat Corporation

iCat Corporation, founded in 1993 and based in Seattle, Washington, is solely dedicated to providing corporations and merchants with the most complete, powerful, and flexible solution for creating Web catalogs with secure transaction processing. The privately held company has technology and marketing relationships with over 350 companies including UPS, Compaq, HP, EDS, and GTE. Its flagship Electronic Commerce Suite has won more than twenty industry awards, including PC Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice Award” for electronic storefront software in November 1997. The software is available in the US, Canada, France, Germany and Japan from any of iCat’s business partners, leading distributors such as TechData, Ingram Micro, MicroAge, and Trans Cosmos Incorporated, and resellers such as Software Spectrum. For more information, visit the iCat Web site at , or call 888-BUY-ICAT.


NBS Profits Down 34%

NBS Technologies Inc. reported Monday its results for the fourth quarter and the year ended Sept. 30, 1997.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, 1997, net income was $2.1 million ($0.07 per share) compared to $3.8 million ($0.13 per share) in the prior year. Sales for the quarter increased 3.3 percent over the prior year to $38.9 million, however, gross profit decreased to 33.9 percent of sales compared to 37.6 percent for the prior year.

This decrease is attributed to changes in product mix and an increase in price competition. Operating expenses increased 2.4 percent or $219 thousand over the prior year.

For the year ended Sept. 30, 1997, net income was $3.5 million ($0.12 per share) compared to $14.8 million ($0.49 per share) in the previous year. The results for 1996 included a gain of $14.5 million before income tax from the settlement of a lawsuit against the former auditors of the company. Sales in 1997 increased by 1.3 percent to $144.5 million from $142.6 million in 1996.

This increase is attributable to higher sales of cards and related services, card issuance and imprinting systems offset by lower sales of transaction and imaging systems. Gross profit decreased to 34.5 percent of sales in 1997 from 37.3 percent in 1996 due to changes in product mix and increased price competition.

Selling, general and administrative expenses increased by 1.5 percent to $26.9 million from $26.5 million in 1996, remaining at 18.6 percent of sales. Research and development expenses rose to $6.9 million in 1997 from $6.3 million in 1996. Interest expense decreased by $630 thousand due to the repayment of long-term debt, offset by higher interest rates during the period.

During the quarter, the company entered into an agreement with Bull to jointly develop terminals for the smart card and stored-value (electronic purse) market in the United States and Canada. Bull is the worldwide leader in providing smart card and stored-value card transaction systems.

The first product, scheduled for early 1998 release, addresses key customer requirements to support the powerful growth potential for the smart card market in North America.

In November, the company was awarded a five-year Digital Driver License Contract for Hawaii valued in excess of $2.7 million. The new system will include state-of-the-art digital biometric capture of finger images, coupled with photographs, digitized signatures, and demographic data.

In addition, NBS will provide the connectivity from databases on each island of Hawaii to the central facility and will manage the image database in Honolulu.

Both of these developments clearly demonstrate NBS’ commitment to using advanced technologies such as smart cards and biometrics to meet the needs of its customer base.

NBS Technologies Inc. is a multinational company that designs, manufactures and markets an integrated line of card, card issuance, identification and point-of-sale products, services and software. Customers, who cover a wide range of market segments and applications, include financial institutions, retailers, government agencies, and healthcare organizations.

The company is a Toronto-based public company that sells to customers in over 85 countries through facilities located in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Consolidated Statement of Operations
(Unaudited) Three Months Twelve Months
Ended Ended
Sept. 30, Sept. 30,
(in thousands of
Canadian dollars) 1997 1996 1997 1996
——– ——- ——- ——-

Sales $38,919 $37,689 $144,513 $142,617
Cost of sales 25,722 23,519 94,615 89,361
——– ——- ——- ——-
Gross profit 13,197 14,170 49,898 53,256
——– ——- ——- ——-


Selling, general
and administrative 7,109 6,646 26,890 26,487
Research and development 672 1,934 6,921 6,298
Depreciation and amortization 1,635 617 6,532 6,243
——– ——- ——- ——-
9,416 9,197 40,343 39,028
——– ——- ——- ——-

Income before undernoted items 3,781 4,973 9,555 14,228

Interest – short-term debt 458 293 1,415 1,170
– long-term debt 819 1,081 3,511 4,386
Foreign exchange 242 (89) 380 492
Other – (14) – (11,701)
——– ——- ——- ——-
1,519 1,271 5,306 (5,653)
——– ——- ——- ——-

Income before income taxes 2,262 3,702 4,249 19,881
Income taxes 203 (58) 724 5,106
——– ——- ——- ——-
Net income for the period $ 2,059 $ 3,760 $ 3,525 $14,775
——– ——- ——- ——-
Earnings per share – basic
and fully diluted $0.07 $0.13 $0.12 $0.49
——– ——- ——- ——-
Weighted average common
shares outstanding
(thousands) 29,981 29,891 29,891 29,891
——– ——- ——- ——-

Consolidated Balance Sheets
as at Sept. 30,
(in thousands of Canadian dollars) 1997 1996
——— ——-
ASSETS (Unaudited)

Accounts receivable $21,206 $25,709
Inventories 14,317 14,484
Prepaid expenses and deposits 1,482 1,495
——— ——-
37,005 41,688
Capital assets 27,330 26,724
Other assets 2,806 1,048
——— ——-
$67,141 $69,460
——— ——-


Bank indebtedness $14,957 $ 8,683
Accounts payable and
accrued liabilities 26,135 26,391
Deferred revenue 2,178 3,372
Current portion of long-term debt 9,460 6,593
——— ——-
52,730 45,039

Long-term debt 27,732 41,267
——— ——–
80,462 86,306
——— ——–


Capital Stock 90,712 90,712
Deficit (104,033) (107,558)
——— ——–
(13,321) (16,846)
——— ——–
$67,141 $69,460
——— ——–

Consolidated Statement of Changes in Financial Position
Twelve Months Ended
Sept. 30,
(in thousands of Canadian dollars) 1997 1996
——— ——-

Net income for the year $ 3,525 $14,775
Depreciation and amortization 6,532 6,243
Amortization of deferred financing costs 231 721
Amortization of deferred
foreign exchange loss on long-term debt 608 708
Change in non-cash working capital 3,327 2,009
——– ——-
Cash generated by operating activities 14,223 24,456
——– ——-


Purchase of capital assets, net
of disposals (7,138) (10,879)
Additions to other assets (1,989) (164)
——– ——-
Cash applied to investing activities (9,127) (11,043)
——– ——-


Issuance of long-term debt 1,848 5,863
Repayment of long-term debt (13,218) (15,844)
——– ——-

Cash applied to financing activities (11,370) (9,981)
——– ——-

Increase (decrease) in cash during year (6,274) 3,432
Bank indebtedness at beginning of year (8,683) (12,115)
——– ——-

Bank indebtedness at end of year ($14,957) ($ 8,683)
——– ——-


CONTACT: NBS Technologies Inc.
J. Kenneth Rutherford, 905/671-3334 ext. 19
905/671-0690 (FAX)
web site:
email: [email protected]



NDC’s Stock Repurchase Plan

National Data Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized a plan to repurchase up to 200,000 shares of the company’s common stock. Subject to availability at prices the company deems appropriate, the repurchases may be made from time-to-time in the open market. The shares will be used to fund the company’s internal requirements under various stock plans such as stock option, employee stock purchase, restricted stock and employee savings plans.

Robert A. Yellowlees, NDC’s chairman and CEO, remarked that “We are pleased with the Board’s decision to use a portion of the company’s capital to repurchase our shares. Given the current market conditions this program represents an attractive investment that will further our goal of maximizing stockholder value.”

National Data Corporation is a leading provider of health information services and payment systems solutions that add value to its customers’ operations.

When used in this report, press releases and elsewhere by management or the Company from time to time, the words “believes,” “anticipates,” “expects” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s operations, economic performance and financial condition, including in particular, the likelihood of the Company’s success in developing and expanding its business. These statements are based on a number of assumptions and estimates which are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of the Company, and reflect future business decisions which are subject to change. A variety of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the Company’s forward-looking statements, some of which include competition in the market for the Company’s services, continued expansion of the Company’s processing and payment systems markets, successfully completing and integrating acquisitions in existing and new markets and other risk factors that are discussed from time to time in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) reports and other filings. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligations to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or thereof, as the case may be, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


New Metris Board Members

Derek V. Smith and Lee R. Anderson were named to the board of directors of Metris Companies Inc., one of the nation’s fastest-growing financial service companies.

Smith is president and CEO of ChoicePoine Inc., a leading provider of informational and custom systems to mitigate insurance, business and government risk and fraud. ChoicePoint was recently formed by the spin-off of the Insurance Services Group from Equifax Inc. Prior to the spin-off, Smith was an executive vice president responsible for the Insurance Services Group.

Smith has held a number of executive positions at Equifax since joining the company in 1984. Previously, he was a senior consultant with Andersen Consulting. Smith is also on the board of ChoicePoint and is a member of several business and charitable organizations. Smith is a resident of Atlanta, Ga.

Anderson is chairman and CEO of APi Group, Inc., headquartered in St. Paul, Minn. APi consists of 18 separate construction, manufacturing, fire protection and material distribution companies operating our of 86 offices in the United States and Canada.

Anderson is also chairman of Anderson Financial Group, Inc., a multiple-bank holding company with 2 banking facilities in northern Minnesota. He is a director of Pan O’Gold Country Hearth Banking Company and a member of various business and philanthropic organizations. Andersen is a resident of Minneapolis, Minn.

Metris Companies Inc., is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products, extended service plans and fee-based products and services. Based in St. Louis Park, Minn., Metris also has operations in Tulsa, Okla.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Baltimore; and Champaign, Ill., and currently empolys nearly 1,300 people. Metris is an 83 percent-owned subsidiary of Fingerhut Companies, Inc., a data-base marketing company based in Minnetonka, Minn.

Metris Companies’ internet address is .


Netscape Digital Certificates

Netscape Communications Corporation announced that major financial institutions and merchants are leveraging new security features in Netscape(R) Communicator client software to deliver enhanced Internet security for their products and services. Netscape Communicator’s new form signing capability allows users to digitally “sign” electronic forms, providing enhanced security of Internet applications through persistent proof that a user has authorized a transaction. Supportive of this technology is Integrion Financial Network, a company created through an equal partnership of 18 North American financial institutions, Visa USA and IBM Corporation. In addition, the form-signing feature can be leveraged with digital certificates offered by BelSign, CertiSign, GTE Cybertrust, IPS Seguridad, Thawte and VeriSign; and will be used in the National Automated Clearing House Association’s (NACHA) Internet Council Certification Authority Interoperability Pilot in 1998.

While the secure sockets layer (SSL) protocol is already an important security technology for electronic commerce, and the S/MIME protocol is becoming an important part of email security, Internet technology has not, until now, enabled individuals to digitally sign transactions. The new form signing feature of Netscape Communicator gives Netscape Communicator the same proof and protection offered by traditional pen-and-ink signatures — proof that an online transaction was authorized by the signer. It provides financial institutions and merchants with a strong persistent proof that transactions have been authorized after an on-line session is completed.

“Open, standards-based security protocols are fundamental to linking businesses together on protected Extranets,” said Taher Elgamal, chief scientist at Netscape. “The form signing capabilities in Netscape Communicator adds important security technology that makes Internet commerce possible and safe — the ability to prove a transaction was authorized after an online session is completed.”

Signing a transaction is an automatic procedure that requires very little effort by the end user. After a transaction is completed, a dialog box appears on the user’s Netscape Communicator window that contains the exact text the user is being asked to authorize or sign. After reviewing the dialog box, the user clicks “OK” to complete the transaction. The digital signature is then created, and the transaction, complete with signature, is returned to the Web server that is hosting the transaction. Netscape’s server-based Signature Verification Utility in Netscape SuiteSpot server software then processes the digital signature, providing persistent proof that the transaction is valid and authorized by the user. The combination of Netscape Communicator and SuiteSpot enables a user to digitally sign Internet-based account application forms, funds transfers, credit card transfers and other electronic “documents” that would normally be signed with a pen.

“Technology such as Form Signing is important in bringing a higher level of trust to Web-based financial transactions and in increasing the acceptance of Web-based electronic commerce,” said David Fortney, director of product development of Integrion, a provider of interactive banking and electronic commerce solutions to financial institutions.

“NACHA believes that the ability to sign Web data will play an important role in the growth of Web-based online financial transactions,” said Scott Lang, senior director network products of the National Automated Clearing House Association.

“Netscape Communicator’s unique ability to leverage VeriSign Digital IDs(SM) to digitally sign Web-based forms gives a user added protection when conducting transactions on the Web,” said Richard Yanowitch, vice president of marketing for VeriSign, Netscape’s premier Certificate Authority. “This form-signing feature provides a higher level of trust to VeriSign customers wanting to perform electronic commerce.”

With form signing support, Netscape Communicator enables customers to conduct signed transactions over the Internet and safely access applications built on the Netscape ONE platform. Netscape ONE enables enterprise customers to build powerful Extranets that support around-the-clock, worldwide transactions with business partners, suppliers and customers, and potentially increase customer satisfaction while reducing costs and time to market. Netscape ONE refers to Netscape’s platform for building, deploying and managing the next generation of Extranet, Intranet, and Internet applications. Netscape ONE is comprised of services provided by Netscape and its partners as the building blocks for developing these applications.

Netscape Communications Corporation is a leading provider of open software for linking people and information over enterprise networks and the Internet. The company offers a full line of clients, servers, development tools and commercial applications to create a complete platform for next-generation, live online applications. Traded on Nasdaq under the symbol “NSCP,” Netscape Communications Corporation is based in Mountain View, California.

NOTE: Netscape, Netscape Navigator, Netscape ONE and the Netscape N and Ship’s Wheel logos are registered trademarks of Netscape Communications Corporation in the United States and other countries. Other Netscape logos and Netscape product and service names are also trademarks of Netscape Communications Corporation, which may be registered in other countries.

Netscape works cooperatively with their developers through Netscape(R) DevEdge, a program that provides the timely technical information and marketing support developers need to stay competitive. The program offers developers a variety of membership levels to suit their specific needs and act as their lint to Netscape and the growing community of developers building on the Netscape ONE platform. For more information about the Netscape DevEdge program, developers ca go to Netscape DevEdge online at .

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