ARKSYS Signs Sogebank

Today, ARKSYS announced an agreement with Sogebank (Societe Generale Haitienne de Banque S.A.) of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, to provide software to enable the bank to integrate its ATM and EFT network connection operations resulting in global account access for Sogebank cardholders.

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’ POS Management. Integrated Credit Card System and EFT network connections to Visa and MasterCard. ARKSYS software provides an interface to the bank’s core accounting system, communications with its Diebold ATMs, debit card processing and provides mini- statements at ATMs. ARKSYS’ software operates on the IBM AS/400 platform.

Founded in 1975, 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.

For more information, contact Rob Roedel, Director of Public Relations, Voice 501-218-7226 (USA)/Fax 501-218-7302 (USA)/E-mail rroedel@arksys.com or by mail at 17500 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, AR USA 72211. ARKSYS’ home page address is [http://www.arksys.com .][1]

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

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Internet Mall Japan

San Jose-based The Internet Mall announced Tuesday the opening of The Internet Mall Japan. About 15% of the Internet Mall’s international traffic currently comes from Japan. More than 50 Japanese retailers will now participate in the service that currently provides consumers with links to over 27,000 on-line stores. The Internet Mall uses the ‘OrderEasy Secure Internet Shopping Service’, a proprietary back-end transaction system, for handling merchant online sales. The Japanese Mall was created in partnership with Japanese software developer Kuni Research International..

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VISA CEO Joins Internet Firm Board

BroadVision(R), Inc. (Nasdaq: BVSN) the leading supplier of enterprise-class solutions for personalized, one-to-one business applications on the global Internet, announced that Carl Pascarella, president and chief executive officer of Visa U.S.A has been elected to the Company’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Pascarella, who joined Visa in January, 1983 as assistant chief general manager of the Asia-Pacific region and was appointed president and CEO of Visa U.S.A in August, 1993, brings significant management, marketing and operational experience to BroadVision. Visa, an industry powerhouse, is the world’s largest and fastest-growing consumer payment system with more than 213 million cards issued in the U.S. and 402 million cards issued worldwide.

“Carl Pascarella is a savvy business strategist who brings decades of experience in building one of the fastest growing and most successful companies in the world,” said Pehong Chen, president and CEO of BroadVision, Inc. “As the top executive in one of the world’s leading financial services companies, we expect Carl to contribute significantly to BroadVision’s strategy and growth, particularly in financial services, which has become a major focus for BroadVision over the past 12 months.”

“The Internet is forcing companies around the globe to rethink their business strategies and make aggressive technology investments to stay competitive,” said Pascarella. “I am convinced that BroadVision’s intelligent, one-to-one applications for Internet commerce, financial services, and knowledge management are leading the next wave in mission-critical information systems. With my experience in banking, credit card, financial services, and retail industries within which Visa now has a commanding leadership position, I am well-prepared to help move BroadVision and its Internet application solutions into the mainstream.”

Before joining Visa, Pascarella was Vice President of the International Division at Crocker National Bank. He also served as Vice President of Metropolitan Bank at Bankers Trust Company. He is a graduate of the University of Buffalo and earned his MBA from Stanford University.

Mr. Pascarella joins Dr. Pehong Chen, Chairman, President, and CEO of BroadVision, David Anderson, General Partner at Sutter Hill Ventures, Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of Singapore Telecom, and Dr. Yogen Dalal, General Partner, Mayfield Fund on BroadVision’s Board of Directors.

About BroadVision

Founded in 1993, BroadVision, Inc. is the leading supplier of application solutions for enterprise class, personalized business on the global Internet, Intranets, and Extranets. These solutions enable companies to rapidly deploy and cost-effectively operate secure, scalable, intelligent, and flexible electronic commerce, customer self-service, and knowledge management applications over the Net. The BroadVision One-To-One(TM) application system and One-To-One WebApps(TM) family of applications support large user and content databases, high transaction volumes, intelligent agent matching, and seamless integration with existing business systems. BroadVision applications also incorporate a suite of powerful management tools that enable non-technical business people to dynamically manage content and control application behavior from their desktops. BroadVision software products are fully integrated with consulting services, training, and technical support to provide comprehensive, end-to-end solutions for the financial services, high technology, retail/distribution, and telecommunications industries. BroadVision is headquartered in Los Altos, Calif. and maintains an extensive network of subsidiaries and licensed resellers in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The company can be reached at 415-943-3600 or on the World Wide Web at [http://www.broadvision.com.][1]

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

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Smart Card Toolkit

Washington state-based The Pathways Group, announced the successful Beta test of its smart card toolkit Tuesday. The smart card toolkit has been implemented to develop real world applications which have been tested by cardholders in the field. The toolkit includes code, protected by a copyright owned by Pathways, called ‘E-Bank’. This process enables smart card funds to be replenished, independent of traditional cash transfer methods. The ‘Card Handle’r tools build portable software code, allowing for virtually any microprocessor based smart card to be introduced to an application without the need for reprogramming. Multiple purses and multiple applications may be delivered on a single smart card through the Pathways concept.

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Planet 1 PrePaid Card

Personal Communications’ introduced a new Planet 1 Prepaid Voice Service for personal satellite telephones. With this new service, anyone using a ‘Planet 1 Smart Card’ can place calls with a prepaid calling card available in 50, 150 or 500 minute increments from COMSAT and Planet 1 Global Distribution Partners worldwide. Cards can be purchased with cash or credit, and can be refreshed by adding money to the account.

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Indonesian Card Bonds Downgraded

Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. (DCR) has downgraded the long-term senior unsecured debt rating of P.T. Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) from ‘BBB’ (Triple-B) to ‘BBB-‘ (Triple-B-Minus). This downgrade applies to both the local and foreign currency obligations of BII. Further, the rating of BII’s US$140 million U.S. dollar-denominated future credit card receivable transaction has been downgraded from ‘BBB+’ (Triple-B-Plus) to ‘BBB’ (Triple-B). The rating of the future flow credit card transaction is based primarily on the credit quality of the originator, BII.

The downgrade of BII’s unsecured debt reflects DCR’s concerns over Indonesia’s currency instability, high interest rates and eroding economic outlook. The continuation of these systemic issues will place increased pressure on BII’s asset quality, profitability and liquidity. BII is the flagship company of the financial arm of the Sinar Mas Group (the Group), the second-largest conglomerate in Indonesia with diversified business interests including pulp and paper, agribusiness, property and real estate, and financial services.

In view of the tight liquidity situation in the Indonesian markets, one additional concern is the extent to which BII’s strong association with the Group may result in an increase in related party lending. While related party lending was insignificant as of midyear 1997 at 0.5 percent of total loans, as recently as 1994 it equaled 10.3 percent of total loans, or 84 percent of total shareholders’ equity. The low percentage of related party lending as of midyear 1997 reflected a reduction in related party lending as well as a capital increase of 967 million rupiah from the limited public offering of shares in February 1997.

Following Thailand and the Philippines, Indonesia free floated its currency in mid-August, which resulted in a substantial devaluation of the rupiah. Since the beginning of the year, the rupiah has devalued almost 30 percent. While the stability of Asian currencies remains uncertain, the extent of the rupiah devaluation has accelerated a deep-rooted concern about the Indonesian banking system: asset quality problems, solvency of smaller-size banks, overall competitiveness/efficiency and its substantial exposure to foreign currency funding.

DCR’s retention of an investment-grade rating for BII reflects, in part, the fact that its liquidity proved to be ample in managing through the initial economic shock. Further, BII’s funding mix dampened the impact of the extreme currency devaluation. However, a prolonged period of rate volatility and the likelihood that rates will stabilize well above previous levels will place considerable burden on BII’s borrowers’ debt repayment capacity.

DCR expects that it will take a period of several weeks for market conditions to begin to move toward equilibrium. Positively, BII enters this challenging period with solid reserves and a recently strengthened capital base. In addition to its above-average operating fundamentals, BII’s solid market position should also assist it in weathering the current market instability. However, we will continue to monitor the ongoing regional economic environment and its influence on BII’s financial condition and take rating action as necessary.

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VISA’s NFL Kickoff

VISA kicked-off its third NFL partnership year last night with a new national TV spot featuring ‘Superbowl Bowl Champs’, the Green Bay Packers, a ‘$1 Million Mall Promotion’, the ‘VISA NFL Ultimate Week of Football Sweepstakes’ and a $25,000 donation to each NFL team’s designated charity.. The Visa/NFL $1 Million Mall Promotion is open to Visa cardholders who make purchases with their cards at more than 400 participating shopping malls from Sept. 1-Oct 31. Cardholders will automatically receive a game piece at the point of purchase for chances to win one of 20,000 $50 Visa Travelers Checks or $50 mall gift certificates. Visa cardholders will also automatically be entered to win one grand prize trip for two to Super Bowl XXXII and the Pro Bowl, and eight first prize trips for two to the Pro Bowl. More than 36,000 stores will feature point-of-sale signage for Visa’s NFL Promotion.

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NFCC Urges College Student to Learn About Credit

More and more young adults obtain their first credit card in college. These students quickly get a crash course in credit and managing their money. The National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC) recommends that if your’s a student and you plan to use credit, know how to use it pr.ply.

“The college experience allows students to make decisions and manage their lives on their own for the first time.” says NFCC President Durant Abernathy. “A natural part of this experience should be learning how to manage money. Using credit cards wisely and paying bills when they are due play a major role in responsible management of a student’s finances.”

Unfortunately, most high school and college curriculums lack a component to teach personal finances. So if spending and saving skills have not been taught at home, many college students are not prepared once they are out on their own. To help, NFCC offers classes and tops on managing money.

Furthermore, NFCC suggests that college students approach using credit like they might tackle writing a term paper.

Start with an outline. A budget is an outline of a plan for spending and saving, similar to a plan for the format of a term paper. Your budget outline should include a breakdown of the categories in which you spend and how much you spend. Set spending limits based on your income and the goals you want to achieve. Everything you purchase with a credit card should be included in your budget.

Do your research. In other words, comparison ship for credit. Credit is the product that has certain costs and features. Figure out how you will use credit and apply for a card that offers the best deal on services that you require most.

Strive for an “A”. Using your credit card is like writing the term paper. If you want to get a good grade, make minor purchases and pay your bills promptly. This activity will help establish a good credit history. When you charge an item, have a plan to pay off the balance within three months.

Proofread your work. Just as a student might double-check his or her work to improve it, any credit user should monitor spending habits and payment due dates. You will want to watch your expenses and not exceed the amount you can afford.

Check your “report” card. A credit report is a record of your past financial transactions, just like a report card is a record of the past semester. Credit issuers regularly report your payment activity to the three major credit bureaus. Then, when you apply for additional credit such as a mortgage, lenders review your credit report to evaluate how well you’ve used credit in the past and to predict how you will pay in the future. NFCC suggests annually reviewing your credit to help you spot errors and safeguard against credit fraud.

For help with budgeting for expenses or reducing debt, contact an NFCC member agency. The National Foundation for Consumer Credit is a non-profit membership organization whose purpose is to promote the wise use of credit through education and counseling. NFCC serves as the umbrella group for 200 member services operating nearly 1,300 counseling offices throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

You can find the telephone number of the nearest NFCC member in the business pages of the local telephone directory under Consumer Credit Counseling Service or by calling 1-800-388-2227. Spanish speaking consumers can call, 1-800-682-9832. Consumer can also learn more by visiting the NFCC Web Site at

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Bouncing Money Orders

Florida Comptroller Bob Milligan, through the Northeast Regional Office in Jacksonville, issued a cease and desist order Aug. 27 against U.S. Express Money Order Inc., Little Annie Food Store, and Abdullah Shah, also known as Jimmy Jones Jr.

The Comptroller charged Shah with selling worthless money orders from Little Annie Food Store, located at 324 Woodbine Street in Jacksonville. More than $150,000 in U.S. Express Money Orders, drawn on First Tennessee Bank, have been returned by that bank for insufficient funds. As a result, customers purchasing these money orders have in some instances been subjected to demands for payment by creditors who received money orders that later were found to be worthless.

The Department is asking creditors to remain patient in their demands on individuals who have been victimized by Shah and U.S. Express Money Order.

“We are doing everything we can to insure that customers will be reimbursed for any dishonored money orders they purchased,” said Comptroller Milligan.

The Department has suspended the registration of U.S. Express Money Order Inc., and entered an administrative complaint compelling the company to cease the sale of money orders or other payment instruments in the State of Florida. In no case should anyone purchase a money order issued in the name of U.S. Express Money Order.

Customers of U.S. Express Money Order who have been notified that a money order they purchased has been returned for insufficient funds should return the money order to Little Annie’s for a refund. Customers with further questions can call the Northeast Florida Regional Office at 904/390-4660.

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