Edmark Selects TransactionWEB

Seattle-based Internet services provider AccessOne, Inc. and electronic commerce solution provider CobWeb, Inc. announced today that their TransactionWEB service has been selected by IBM educational services company Edmark as the foundation for its fully integrated e-commerce Web site.

AccessOne provides the fully-secured, scalable TransactionWEB service, which is built on CobWeb’s Merchant Gateway product. To provide customers with downloads and online ordering of its educational software products, Edmark will use TransactionWEB to create a secure environment facilitating all aspects of Web commerce and electronic order processing, including credit card transactions, electronic software distribution and hard goods fulfillment and distribution.

“TransactionWEB provides us with a turnkey e-commerce solution with extensive capabilities at a low cost,” said Anthony Kong, Director – Information Technology Services of Edmark. “AccessOne and CobWeb have leveraged their collective Web and application development expertise to provide top-notch technological solutions that complement where the emerging market of online electronic commerce is going. TransactionWEB is a prime example of that.”

Between the fall and the holiday season, Edmark plans to introduce over the Internet seven software titles in creativity, education and reference. “The breadth of our fall software products demonstrate our momentum in this market, and TransactionWEB facilitates our commitment to bring families the best educational information directly to the home,” said Kong.

Additional TransactionWEB benefits include high volume, high speed credit card transactions, fraud detection and tax calculations. The user-friendly service also features the EDI business-to-business standard for formatting purchase orders and allows customers to pay per transaction.

“Electronic commerce is most definitely the force behind the Internet’s growth as a must-have, mainstream business operation,” said Colleen Coady, Marketing Director for AccessOne. “We and our partners at CobWeb understand that business customers need easy-to-use, highly integrated packages that make showcasing, demonstrating and selling a product over the Internet as simple for the customer as walking into the store. TransactionWEB creates this online storefront at a very reasonable cost.”

The TransactionWEB Internet site ( ) provides merchants with an overview of the process and components required to give a commercial Web site the capability for transaction processing, and offers a real-time online demonstration.

“Our mission is to provide the very best in transaction processing to online merchants,” said Richard J. Lancaster, Chief Executive Officer of CobWeb. “We built Merchant Gateway to be independent of the different catalog platforms, so TransactionWEB can be interfaced to any Windows NT, UNIX or Mac-based storefront or catalog Web sites.”

As a member of the Verio Inc. group of locally and regionally managed Internet service providers, AccessOne offers business customers Verio’s unique combination of hands-on, local service backed by a national infrastructure that includes a high-speed national backbone, peering relationships, engineering support and 24-hour customer service as well as access to enhanced service Internet applications including Web hosting, electronic commerce and virtual private networks.

AccessOne, Inc. was founded in April 1994 and is a full-service provider of Internet services and solutions throughout the Puget Sound area. AccessOne currently serves more than 8,000 customers. With points-of-presence and customer service operations in the greater Puget Sound area, AccessOne delivers secure, reliable connectivity and a full range of Internet applications for business and institutional customers, including Web hosting and co-location services, commerce and transaction services and security solutions. AccessOne’s Web site is at ( http://www.accessone.com ). Corporate offices are located in Kirkland at 11321 NE 120th Street, Suite B, 98034, phone number 425-814-9100, fax number 425-814-9105.

Edmark Corporation, an IBM company, is a leading developer and publisher of educational software with more than 25 years experience applying proven educational concepts to the development of educational products for children. The company develops products that run on Macintosh and Windows computers for both consumer and education marketplaces. Edmark’s award-winning line of educational software includes: KidDesk Family Edition and the Early Learning Series. Edmark’s Web site is at ( http://www.edmark.com ) and the company is located in Redmond at 6727 185th Avenue NE, 98052, phone number 425-556-8400.

CobWeb, Inc. was founded in 1994 and specializes in electronic commerce applications, high-end Web development, Internet hosting services and product development for corporations and customers who require real-time, accurate and concise interaction with their target audiences. CobWeb’s clients include Microsoft, Entercom, NetStock Direct, Electric Lightwave and more than 200 Puget Sound businesses. CobWeb’s Web site is at ( http://www.cobweb.com ). Corporate offices are located in Issaquah at 1065 12th NW, Suite E-3, 98027, phone number 888-4COBWEB.

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Phoenix Banking System Expands

Phoenix International Ltd., Inc., a world leader in client/server retail banking management solutions, today announced that the Phoenix Banking System will now be available to banks via a service bureau arrangement with Servers On-Line, Inc., a new information processing data center located in Holbrook, New York. Through this strategic alliance, Servers On-Line will offer financial institutions an alternative delivery channel to the Phoenix client/server based core banking product, which until now, was only available on an in-house basis.

According to officials at both companies, Servers On-Line’s new northeastern service bureau has been designed to overcome the weakness inherent in the traditional service bureau enviornment, namely, antiquated mainframe technology and a lack of personalized service. Servers On-Line specifically chose the Phoenix Banking System for its client/server-based technology, which will allow each bank to have its own dedicated hardware configuration rather than compete for processing resources with other clients. The intended result will be significant operational efficiencies and cost savings for every subscriber.

“For years, we have seen organizations using traditional legacy systems attempting to address current banking issues. These systems, with their old technology and dated architecture, cannot help banks compete effectively in today’s marketplace. Furthermore, the concept of utilizing a mainframe and attempting to realize a profit by taking advantage of economies of scale and sharing system resources is diametrically opposed to providing customized services for each bank,” said Kenneth J. Sole, president of Servers On-Line, Inc.

Sole explained that under the traditional scenario, as the data center comes closer to achieving its own objective–100 percent utilization of the computing resources–the less successful the clients on the service bureau will be in attaining their individual objectives.

Sole continued, “With the Phoenix client/server system, we at long last have a scalable platform that will mitigate these issues and provide the opportunities to meet the challenges that banks face regarding alternative delivery strategies and open architectures. This will allow us to deliver significant competitive advantages.”

The alliance will offer banks the same depth and breadth of applications delivered to Phoenix in-house customers including customer relationship management, teller, ATM, deposits, retirement processing, mortgage lending, line of credit, commercial lending and an executive information system. Servers On-Line also plans to deliver key strategic and technology-based applications such as Internet banking, telephone banking, document imaging, cash management solutions, card services, and item processing. A full range of professional services, from network development, installation and management, to intranet site development, education, training, and consulting, will also be available to every client.

According to Bahram Yusefzadeh, chief executive officer of Phoenix International, “The development of this unique service bureau provides a critical solution to small to mid-size community banks who must compete effectively or lose market share. Phoenix is now able to support those banks who demand state-of-the-art technology but perfer to operate through and oursourcing arrangement. This strategic alliance allows community banks to use the Phoenix Banking System’s client/server technology to more effectively manage their organizations, achieve their business objectives, and compete on a level playing field with other major financial institutions.”

Based in Holbrook, New York, Servers On-Line is an organization that offers outsourced data processing and related services to the community banking market. The methods and systems used in delivering these services are key in differentiating Servers On-Line from competitor service bureaus. By utilizing state-of-the-art client/server-based systems and architectures, Servers On-Line delivers improved operational efficiencies and personalized services to each user.

Through an alliance with Phoenix International, Servers On-Line uses the Phoenix Banking System as its information processing system. A dedicated hardware platform is configured and specifically designed for each financial institution. Servers On-Line delivers a wide array of core banking applications including relationship management, teller, ATM, deposits, retirement processing, mortgage lending, line of credit, commercial lending, and an executive information system tailored to meet each clients’ requirements. Servers On-Line provides a turnkey solution by delivering key strategic and technology-based applications such as Internet banking, telephone banking, document imaging, cash management solutions, card services, network installation and management, and consulting services designed to meet the competitive and evolving demands of the community banking marketplace. For more information, contact Servers On-Line at 516/738-2959, or visit the web site at [www.serversonline.com][1].

Based in Orlando, Florida, Phoenix International is a world leader in installed client/server banking solutions and services for the financial industry. Clients range from community banks to multi-national and international financial organizations.

The company provides the Phoenix Banking System, a fully integrated core banking solution that manages all facets of a bank’s retail and wholesale information processing operations entirely in an open-system, client/server enviornment. Developed to help bankers focus on strategic issues, the system was designed with key management applications as its core including customer relationship information management, on-line customer profitability analysis, financial reporting, an executive information management system and fully integrated teller, phone, ATM, and Internet banking modules.

As a full service provider, Phoenix offers clients a full complement of professional and systems integration services including installation, conversion, implementation, training, customer programming, network solutions, intranet and World Wide Web site development services. For more information, call Phoenix International at 407/548-5100, or visit the Phoenix web site at [www.phoenixint.com][2].

[1]: http://www.serversonline.com
[2]: http://www.phoenixint.com

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They Can Pay

About 25% of all debtors filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy could repay 30% or more of their non-housing debts according to a study released Friday by the Credit Research Center of Georgetown University. The study also noted that 5% of Chapter 7 filers could repay all of what they owe. Among Chapter 13 filers the report found 75% have a significant ability to repay. More than 3.8 million petitions in 13 district courts and 11 states were analyzed.

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OnCart Update

For people who would rather not spend their time cruising supermarket aisles, OnCart has a genuine alternative. This pioneer in phone/fax and Internet grocery shopping today introduced a new, national Internet-based shopping and delivery service that enables people to order their groceries electronically from the comfort of their home or office.

With thousands of products to choose from including most national brands, OnCart presents the first real shopping alternative for new moms, busy parents, working singles, active seniors, and those with limited mobility. It offers pricing and services that present greater benefits to consumers, who spend $400 billion a year on groceries, than other electronic supermarkets.

With the new national offering, delivery anywhere in the U.S. is free for orders over $50, which means the cost to shop through OnCart is comparable to buying through a local supermarket — without having to carry home the bags. Other time-saving features include weekly special email alerts and pre-made shopping lists of the popular items. And unlike some other online grocery services, there is no membership fee.

Through OnCart, formerly known as Shoppers Express, a consumer can condense a 90-minute shopping expedition into an enjoyable 30-minute experience, done from the convenience of their home. To speed up the process, this easy-to-use Web service keeps records of previous orders to make reordering easy — experience shows that over 70% of grocery items are bought again and again. OnCart also offers express shopping lists that include the most commonly ordered items for new parents, kids, calorie conscious buyers, and the holidays.

In coming months, OnCart’s users will be able to get a full range of services that take advantage of the Internet’s interactive ability — services that just aren’t available to those who only shop in stores. These include customized meal planning, use of an extensive recipe database, receive dietary planning, consult with top chefs, and ask questions of nutritionists.

“Why pack the kids in the car, drive to the store and negotiate the supermarket aisles when in far less time you can get the same groceries delivered to your doorstep?,” said Allison Abraham, CEO of Chicago-based OnCart, who speaks from experience. Abraham, a former executive at American Express and Ameritech, juggles 90-hour work weeks with nearly daily travel, a husband, and a three-year-old who often accompanies her in her trips.

For the past 10 years, OnCart has provided phone, fax, and more recently Internet-based grocery shopping. This new, national service builds on the company’s success in providing home shopping and delivery in six major cities: Atlanta, Columbus (Ohio), Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Orange County, Phoenix, and Seattle. The average on-line order is about $100 — nearly five times the size of an in-store order. Internet statistics cite that 32% of online users are working women, many of which are working from home. Some 80% of service users are full-time workers.

Those cities will continue to enjoy local service, which allows residents to order perishables as well as staples and receive same day delivery from OnCart’s own fleet of trucks. Local service is done in conjunction with the nation’s largest supermarket chains such as Kroger and Pavilions, a division of Vons/Safeway. Four to six more cities are planned to get the same level of service in 1998. Other cities will benefit from the new national service, which delivers staples via UPS from OnCart’s centrally located facility.

OnCart represents the ultimate consumer electronic commerce application on the Web — is there any activity more common to us all than grocery shopping? According to Abraham, electronic grocery shopping is catching on because the need is so great. Some 60% of consumers say they find supermarket shopping inconvenient. And enough consumers are now familiar enough with the Internet to make using this service easy.

“The Internet can enable people to create a standard shopping list that can be checked off in a matter of minutes, receive information on nutrition, and pick out a recipe and automatically order the ingredients,” says Abraham. “The possibilities of personalizing and customizing the shopping experience are endless.”

But all online grocery services are not the same, Abraham points out. OnCart’s deep roots in serving consumers via phone orders and electronically over the Internet allow it to offer a broader, more consumer friendly, service than other Web-based grocery stores. For example, OnCart requires no special software to be downloaded to use the service.

OnCart is the nation’s largest and most experienced phone/fax and online grocery shopping and home delivery service. Founded 1987, the company currently delivers thousands of orders every month in six major markets including Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angles & Orange County, Phoenix, and Seattle. OnCart Corp., is headquartered in Lombard, Illinois.

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ShopSite Pro

ICentral, Inc., a developer of e-commerce site creation and management tools for the smaller business, today announced ShopSite Pro v3.2, the top-end member of the ShopSite family of commerce products. ShopSite Pro meets the needs of merchants with large inventories and sophisticated merchandising requirements at a price within reach of the first-time user. ShopSite Pro is fully compatible with ShopSite Manager, and includes new features such as real-time credit card authorization and a site search engine.

ShopSite Pro’s key features fall into three main areas: transaction handling, site management/navigation, and product ordering.

TRANSACTION HANDLING

ICentral and Online Analysis, Fremont, California, worked together to provide a fully integrated, easy to implement, online credit card processing solution. A Pro site can accept credit card information securely and deliver real-time authorization while the shopper is online. No host provider involvement is required to use this feature. (See for more information.)

“Through the combined strengths of this partnership, merchants now have a low-cost entry point into electronic commerce that allows them to compete without the high startup costs traditionally associated with implementing a complete electronic commerce solution,” said Chuck Ramey, president of Online Analysis.

PRO EXTENSIBLE TO OTHER APPLICATIONS ShopSite Pro provides a real-time interface into the ordering process. Using this interface, web developers can write custom programs that grab the order information from ShopSite Pro and deliver it in real-time to other applications, such as a credit card clearing application, an accounting package, a fax application or a fulfillment company’s order processing system. “Using the ShopSite Pro CGI-interface, we wrote a real-time interface into the Royal Bank of Canada’s ‘do_pay’ application”, says Catherine Clark, president of Strategic Profits, Inc., Vancouver, B.C. company providing turnkey e-commerce solutions. Strategic Profits is the first company to offer Canadian Internet merchants a real-time credit card authorization and payment processing service through a Canadian bank.

SITE MANAGEMENT AND NAVIGATION TOOLS A site search engine was added to Pro, enabling shoppers to quickly find and immediately purchase a product directly from the search results page. Says Jim Hurst, owner of Coyote Book Shop (http://www.coyotebooks.com), in Walnut Creek, California: “I am totally impressed with the search feature. Not only will it locate the book title, but it will also find the author by last name.”

For the more advanced user seeking a balance between easy site maintenance and maximum site customization, there is SmartHTML. This feature enables the site developer to deliver a highly customized site, while managing products and page information through ShopSite’s easy-to-use back office interface. The developer simply adds special tags to standard HTML. When the product database changes, so does the HTML – automatically.

PRODUCT ORDERING

ShopSite Pro offers several new advanced order functions that increase merchandising and upselling capabilities. Merchants can add a premium or apply a discount to any pull-down option associated with a product. This easy-to-implement, yet powerful feature enables the creative merchant to motivate shoppers to buy a particular “version” of a product or capture additional dollars on premium option items.

For wholesale situations, the “Order Another” feature enables a shopper to create multiple “incidents” of a single item, each with different options and quantities. For merchants seeking ways to motivate buyers, a shopper discount can be applied to the total merchandise dollars ordered.

WHAT’S NEW IN SHOPSITE MANAGER V3.2

In addition to the announcement of ShopSite Pro, ICentral announces a new revision of ShopSite Manager, which shares a common code base with ShopSite Pro. Among the many new features added to ShopSite Manager v3.2 is the ability to export orders information in tab-delimited format from the orders database. In addition, designers now have more control over colors and backgrounds when customizing the appearance of orders pages. (For a more detailed look at the differences between Manager and Pro, see [http://www.icentral.com/help/3.2-features.html.][1])

ICENTRAL IMPROVES SERVER RESOURCE USAGE

ShopSite hosting partners will benefit from several new features in the v3.2 code base that will enable them to host more ShopSite stores per server. For instance, the new 3.2 code protects against excessive CPU usage by monitoring the progress of the HTML generation process. If the process is interrupted by a CPU timeout or other cause, ShopSite picks up where it left off. ShopSite’s use of server disk space was also improved. For example, one ShopSite Manager v3.1 test site with 12,877 items went from 14 MB to 10.5 MB, an improvement of 25%, when upgraded to the new v3.2 code base.

AVAILABILITY AND PRICING

ShopSite Pro v3.2 is priced at $1295 (list); ShopSite Manager v3.2 is priced at $495 (list). Both are shipping now. There is no upgrade charge to move from ShopSite Manager v3.1 to ShopSite Manger v3.2. The upgrade price from Manager to Pro is $800 (list).

ICentral Products can be purchased through ShopSite authorized sales partners. Visit [http://www.icentral.com/spartner_list/index.html][2] for a list of ShopSite sales partners or call ICentral sales at 888-373-4347 for assistance in locating a qualified web designer or certified hosting partner.

[1]: http://www.icentral.com/help/3.2-features.html
[2]: http://www.icentral.com/spartner_list/index.html

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VISA Olympic Ads

Visa U.S.A., the exclusive card of the Olympic Games in Nagano, this week will premiere the company’s first Olympic-themed advertising spot for the upcoming Winter Games, featuring American Olympic athlete hopefuls. The commercial highlights Visa’s partnership with marquee Olympic sports — including Skiing and Figure Skating — and reinforces the message that Visa is the only card accepted at the world’s largest sports event.

Visa will break the spot, titled “Personal Standards,” on November 22 during ABC’s national broadcast of the college football game between Michigan and Ohio State. The 30-second spot features a number of U.S. Olympic hopefuls, including world medalist figure skater Nicole Bobek and other members of the U.S. Olympic family such as Heidi Voelker, Shannon Nobis, Trace Worthington (U.S. Skiing) and Chris Thorpe (USA Luge). While each athlete attests to his or her personal goals for the Games, the commercial also humorously depicts the individual goals of a Nagano ticket vendor and emphasizes the exclusive acceptance of Visa.

Nagano marks Visa’s seventh Olympic Games since signing as a worldwide sponsor in 1986 and the company’s tenth anniversary since its first Olympic Games in 1988. Visa enters Nagano with two new partnerships that will capture worldwide attention — ice hockey and snowboarding. For the first time, men’s professional ice hockey players will compete and snowboarding and women’s ice hockey will debut as medal sports.

Visa will break the second spot, which focuses solely on Visa’s inaugural partnership with USA Hockey, prior to the Winter Games. Both ads were created by BBDO New York.

“Our partnership with the hottest sports at the Games, including hockey, figure skating, skiing and snowboarding, complements our ‘It’s Everywhere You Want to Be’ campaign,” said Michael Lynch, vice president, event marketing, Visa U.S.A. “Visa will be where fans want to be during the Games.”

Visa hopes the use of humor in the commercial will distinguish it from the other sponsors. “Ten years ago, our Olympic ads highlighted the intense spirit of the Olympic Games. Since the Games in Atlanta, we’ve added humor to separate ourselves from other worldwide sponsors,” said Liz Silver, vice president, advertising, Visa U.S.A.

Bringing the Excitement of Nagano Home

The two commercials kick-off Visa’s 1998 Olympic integrated marketing program, which focuses on bringing the excitement of the Olympic Winter Games to the United States. As with other sports and events partnerships, Visa will combine advertising, member bank and retail promotions, national consumer promotions and public relations to generate enthusiasm and build further brand recognition.

Similar to the Summer Games in Atlanta, the company is promoting the Visa Pull for the Team program. American athletes will benefit from the program, in which Visa guarantees a $2.5 million donation to the U.S. Olympic Committee, based on card usage. Via the program, American cardholders join the team simply by using their Visa cards for purchases through September 30, 2000. To date, the program has contributed nearly $7 million to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Visa offers consumers the “virtual experience” of Nagano through its web site at www.visa.com. Focusing on human interest stories, Visa is providing on-site correspondents in Nagano, including on-line diaries from U.S. athletes and regular reports from local residents about Olympic preparations. The site also provides a glimpse of the different sporting venues for the Games, as well as a profile of the city of Nagano.

Visa is also promoting Visa Olympics of the Imagination, an international 14-nation youth art competition that will send 25 children — including four from the U.S. — to the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

The Newest Olympic Partnership — USA Hockey

Visa recently signed a six-year agreement that establishes the company as a partner with the U.S. Olympic Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Teams, as well as the USA Hockey InLine National Team, and positions Visa as the “Preferred Card” of USA Hockey. Visa will also be a top-level sponsor of all USA Hockey National Championship Tournaments and will sponsor the USA Hockey Women’s National Team pre-Olympic tour.

Visa’s Olympic partnership extends through the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney.

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. Visa’s Internet address is [www.visa.com][1].

[1]: http://www.visa.com

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ACI Russian Expansion

Applied Communications, Inc. (ACI), a subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. (Nasdaq: TSAI), announces the continued expansion of its customer base in Europe and Russia. Among the financial institutions choosing ACI software solutions are SGS-AGRO (formerly known as Stolichny Bank of Savings) in Russia; United Payment System of Ukraine, Ltd. in the Ukraine; Postabank in Hungary; and BULBANK in Bulgaria.

The four have licensed a variety of products, including: BASE24-atm and BASE24-pos, the world’s leading ATM and POS processing software; BASE24- InfoBase, a suite of file transfer, electronic funds transfer and hot list management solutions that support the transfer and processing of diverse data types across various networks; and GENcard, a modular set of applications designed to meet the card processing requirements of financial institutions in emerging card markets. BASE24 products operate on Tandem Himalaya servers to provide fault tolerant, high-volume processing. GENcard operates on a range of popular servers including Tandem and UNIX to offer platform flexibility.

SBS-AGRO

SBS-AGRO, the second largest retail bank in Russia, licensed BASE24-atm and BASE24-pos to support its network of 350 ATMs and 3,000 POS devices.

“We anticipate a great deal of growth in our ATM and POS networks, and chose the BASE24 solutions because they will grow with us,” said Vladimir A. Levtchenko, first deputy chairman of the board of SBS-AGRO. “We needed a new system that was state-of-the-art and able to handle a large number of transactions reliably and efficiently. BASE24 running on Tandem hardware is able to meet our needs now and in the future.”

BASE24-InfoBase complements the products SBS-AGRO has chosen to integrate on its new BASE24 platform. InfoBase will collect, distribute and process a variety of EFT data for the bank.

United Payment System of Ukraine, Ltd.

United Payment Systems of Ukraine (UPSU) is an independent processing company that will initially provide card processing services for pensioners to pay their utility bills electronically. UPSU was founded by a number of organizations, including Crimea Credit Bank, one of the leading banks in Crimea. UPSU will use BASE24-pos and GENcard to meet the challenges presented by the Ukraine’s transition from a cash-based to an electronic-cash society.

“To ensure a smooth transition from cash to cards, our customers require reliable, flexible processing and BASE24 meets the need,” said Vladimir A. Dubovenko, general manager of UPSU. “We expect growth in volume and in the types of services our customers want and chose BASE24 because it offers us the flexibility to integrate additional functionality and value-added services to meet customer demand.”

GENcard gives UPSU the ability to quickly introduce new card products and services including card issuance and renewal, customer and card account management, and merchant account management. It offers fast transaction processing and flexible information reporting to effectively manage card business.

Postabank

The third largest bank in Hungary, Postabank also chose the proven processing performance of BASE24-atm, BASE24-pos and GENcard. Postabank will use its BASE24 platform to combine two in-house card processing operations, offer new card products and bring outsourced processing operations in-house.

“BASE24 is the ideal platform to allow us to meet the rapidly growing card base typical of our emerging market,” said Zsuzsanna Haraszte, director of Bank Card Schemes at Postabank. “The ability to combine our current processing operations into a single reliable system will also allow us to expand our products and services.”

BULBANK

A state-owned bank with 25 branches in Bulgaria, BULBANK is ACI’s first customer in Bulgaria. BULBANK licensed GENcard operating on a Hewlett Packard server to offer card products and services to its corporate and private customer base.

BULBANK will initially use GENcard to issue a domestic Bulgarian Leva card and international VISA cards and to process card transactions. As volumes grow, additional functionality may be added.

“We are in a position to help our customers make the transition from passbooks to card products,” said Alexandre Dokov, deputy manager of Non- Commercial Payments at BULBANK. “GENcard gives us the opportunity to offer the convenience of cards to our customers while automating and reducing some of the administrative costs associated with manual transactions.”

BULBANK will establish its card processing centre in its main office in Sofia. Branches throughout Bulgaria will be linked via network connections.

“These are just a few examples of customers adding the flexible solutions ACI has to offer,” said Tom Boje, managing director of ACI’s Europe, Middle East and Africa Operation, based in the United Kingdom. “They represent ACI’s ability to offer solutions across the processing spectrum. Whether the need is for high-volume processing, ATM and POS switching, card maintenance or new functionality, we have the solution. And, we are committed to offering solutions and products that meet our customers’ needs today and in the future.”

Applied Communications, Inc. is a subsidiary of Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. (Nasdaq: TSAI). 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, home banking services, checks, wire transfers and automated clearing and settlement. Its solutions are used on more than 2,700 product systems in 69 countries on six continents.

Visit TSA and ACI on the World Wide Web at [www.tsainc.com][1].

[1]: http://www.tsainc.com

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Verisign + NetSign Deal

Litronic, Inc. and VeriSign, Inc. announced today an agreement has been signed to resell and distribute VeriSign Class 1 Digital IDsSM with Litronic’s NetSign™ a complete solution that seamlessly integrates smartcards with Netscape Communicator. NetSign is fully integrated with Netscape’s implementation of secure e-mail (S/MIME) and secure transport, authentication and authorization (SSL) and object-signing. NetSign interoperates with VeriSign’s Class 1 Digital IDs to provide portable and secure smartcard-based storage of digital certificates.

“Digital certificates provide users with a powerful, flexible means for authenticating identity over an intranet, extranet or the Internet,” said Taher Elgamal, chief scientist at Netscape. “Litronic and VeriSign’s integration of digital certificates into smartcard technology through RSA’s PKCS #11 standard makes it even easier for Netscape Communicator users to access encrypted information from a protected network while on the road.”

“We’re happy to be partnering with Litronic to provide our customers with one-stop shopping for certificates and smartcards to give them the added security and portability they are looking for,” said Richard Yanowitch, vice president of marketing for VeriSign. “Litronic’s NetSign is a convenient, manageable and inexpensive solution to secure Internet and enterprise communications.”

“VeriSign and Litronic have joined forces to leverage the complementary expertise and capabilities of our two organizations to provide smartcard-driven security products to the Enterprise, merchant, and consumer marketplace,” stated Eric Greenberg, Chief Operating Officer of Litronic. “Digital certificates on smartcards allow users to securely logon to networks providing the portability and physical security of a user’s identity. Our joint product offerings will build on Litronic’s capabilities in the network security arena and on VeriSign’s digital certificate expertise.”

Based on Litronic’s smartcard API, called CryptOS™, and leading industry standards including Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME), RSA’s Public Key Cryptographic Standards (PKCS #11), x.509 certificates and the Common Data Security Architecture (CDSA), NetSign allows users to download VeriSign Digital IDs onto smartcards. NetSign is a convenient, manageable and inexpensive means to secure Internet and enterprise communications. NetSign comes in a “ready to use” package including a Litronic smartcard reader, a Cryptoflex smartcard, and Litronic’s smartcard-enabling Netscape drop-in software, device driver and VeriSign Digital ID.

About Litronic, Inc.

Litronic, Inc. provides real world security solutions within a multi-platform, standards-based framework through enterprise security middleware, software developer toolkits, supporting hardware and professional services. Litronic’s products and services seamlessly add smartcard capabilities and integrate legacy security applications for the enterprise, the U.S. government, and banking and financial industries by supplying integration with standards including Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME), Object Code Signing, PC/SC as well as FORTEZZA solutions. More information about Litronic can be found on the Internet at [http://www.litronic.com.][1]

About VeriSign, Inc.

VeriSign is a leading provider of digital certification services for Internet access and electronic commerce. Its corporate digital certificate solution, announced in January, is helping fuel the growth of Internet commerce and secure communication by making an Internet security requirement — digital authentication — readily available and easily customizable for corporations. In addition to customizable digital certificate programs, VeriSign also provides Web-server authentication through its Secure Server IDs and Global Server IDs, and secure e-mail authentication through its Digital IDs for S/MIME. The Server IDs let Web users engage in secure sessions between their browsers and Web servers. VeriSign’s Global Server ID lets users invoke strong encryption (128-bit) for international electronic commerce and communication. The e-mail IDs allow for privacy and authentication when sending electronic mail.

[1]: http://www.litronic.com

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Credit Store Update

Credit Store, Inc., a national credit card company that markets unsecured credit cards to individuals who have experienced difficulty in meeting their debt obligations, today released unaudited results for the first quarter of its fiscal year 1998, which ended Aug. 31, 1997.

For the three months ending Aug. 31, 1997, the first quarter of the 1998 fiscal year, Credit Store, Inc. reported revenues of $3.834 million. Net interest and other expenses of $4.453 million, and general and administrative expenses of $3.834 million. Net interest and other expenses for the quarter was $721,674.

The company reports that a significant portion of the operating, general and administrative expenses were attributable to costs associated with continuing to expand the work force and to build infrastructure to keep pace with business needs and expansion plans. The net loss for the period applicable to common stock was $5.415 million, or a loss of $0.17 per common share. Although the net loss for the period was $5.415 million, the cash used in operating activities was $3.512 million, principally because of non-cash expenses represented by provision for credit card losses, deprecation and amortization and cost recovery of the investment in credit cards.

Reviewing the period Jan. 1, 1997 through Aug. 31, 1997, Credit Store, Inc. accounced the following highlights and trends:

–More than $913 million in non-performing consumer debt portfolios have been acquired since Jan., 1997 (purchased at substantial discounts).

–Monthly gross cash-flow-before-expenses from credit card payments has increased from $670,000 in Jan. 1997 to $1,657,792 in Aug. 1997. In addition, monthly gross cash-flow-before-expenses from non-card holders increased from $36,516 in January, to $138,485 in August. Thus, total gross cash-flow-before-expenses increased from approximately $706,000 in January to $1.796 million in August.

–The amount of cash needed monthly to fund credit card purchases and cash advances increased at a slower rate than gross payments, from $405,000 in Jan., 1997 to $1.309 million in August. This has allowed monthly net cash flow (monthly gross credit card and non-credit payments, less monthly funding of credit card purchases and cash advances) to increase from $301,000 in January to $487,000 in August.

–Since Jan. 1, 1997, the Company has generated $39.0 million in face value of new credit card receivables before reserves, increasing the Company’s face value of total receivables outstanding before reserves to $59.8 million at Aug. 31, 1997. The Company has increased the number of its credit cards outstanding from 16,131 at Jan. 1, 1997, to 39,998 at Aug. 31, 1997.

–As of Aug. 31, 1997, the Company’s net investment in non-performing consumer debt portfolios, based upon purchase price, was $25.9 million. At the same time, the Company’s face value of gross credit card receivables before reserves was $59.8 million. In addition to interest collected on the face value of the credit card recievables, the Company expects to record a gain net of reserves and other expenses based on part of the difference between the company’s gross credit card receivables and its investment in the purchase of consumer debt portfolios.

Credit Store, Inc., based in Sioux Falls, S.D., extends unsecured credit cards to persons who, because of a change in their economic fortunes, have been unable to meet their debt obligations. The Company purchases charged-off debt from major national credit institutions at a fraction of their face value, and through a sophisticated process of sorting and marketing, converts the charged-off debt into performing credit cards that generate interest and fee income for the company.

“Given the rapid growth in consumer debt delinquencies and defaults, Credit Store is positioned to take advantage of expanding opportunities to purchase charged-off consumer debt,” Burke said. “And by offering consumers access to unsecured credit cards, we are giving them an innovative and practical way to restore their credit worthiness and their financial dignity.”

Credit Store, Inc.’s stock trades on the Electronic Bulletin Board under the symbol “PLCR”

The unaudited consolidation financial statements for the first quarter are available from the Company upon request.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating 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 enviornment and other risks. Future trends and results may differ materially from disclosures contained in this press release.

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ARKSYS European Expansion

ARKSYS announced Thursday the expansion of its European office to serve the company’s growing Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) client base. Located in Budapest, Hungary, the office will provide on-site technical support for clients throughout the region.

“ARKSYS wants to provide high quality support and assistance for our clients,” said Donald B. Hatfield, President and CEO of ARKSYS. “Our expanded office will enhance our ability to more completely understand and support the specific needs of our EMEA clients.”

Over the past three years ARKSYS and its European distributors have added over 30 new clients in the EMEA region. The clients include some of the largest banks in several countries and some very sophisticated card and EFT/P0S solutions. The need for local support has continued to grow with the complexity and sophistication of our client’s products,” said Hatfield.

In addition, ARKSYS is committed to expand the support for authorized distributors in the region. The ARKSYS office is housed in Budapest with Polygon Informatikai Kft. Polygon implements and supports six clients with ARKSYS solutions in Hungary and has recently commenced operations with Polygon Polska for implementation and support of customers in Poland. ARKSYS also has distributors in Bosnia-Herzogovina, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Turkiye and Ukraine.

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

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

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BofA HomeBanking

Yesterday, Bank of America’s ‘HomeBanking’ service dropped all access fees, reduced fees for online bill payment and added a new service enabling customers to view credit card account information. California-based checking account customers can now access ‘HomeBanking’ via the Internet, direct dial-up or via America Online without charge. Online customers can also sign up for the BofA bill payment option which has been reduced for $6.50 per month to $5.95 per month. VISA and MasterCard account information is also now available for no additional fee. BofA credit cardholders can now view up to seven months of credit card activity, download information into financial management software programs, and email messages to customer service.

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Accrediting Digital Certificates

Utah has become the first state to enact legislation defining the role of digital signatures in electronic commerce. In a ceremony Thursday the Governor of Utah issued the state’s first digital signature certificate using ‘Certification Authority’ technology provided by NY-based CertCo. The Digital Signature Trust Company, a new subsidiary of Zions First National Bank, became the first digital signature Certification Authority licensed by the Utah Department of Commerce to do business in Utah. The first application for the new Utah public key infrastructure will be an electronic court filing system for legal documents. CertCo, spun out of Bankers Trust last year, is the root Certification Authority for the VISA/MasterCard ‘SET’ infrastructure.

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