Students Get Top Card Use Grades

VISA released a study yesterday showing 90% of college students consider themselves good money managers. The ‘VISA Scholars & Cents’ survey of 251 students also showed that 56% of students pay credit card balances in full each month and most reserve credit card use for high-ticket items such as travel and car expenses. The study, conducted by CT-based NFO Research between July 22 and July 27, also revealed that 67% rely on money they earn during the school year. The study’s results comes on the heels of recent press articles presenting reams of anecdotal evidence of students struggling under a mound of credit card debt.

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August Sales Sluggish

Consumers maintained a moderate spending pace in August according to data released yesterday by TeleCheck Services Inc. August retail sales are normally fueled by back-to-school purchases but it appears this seasonal activity is extended into September for 1997. TeleCheck noted 15-day UPS strike in August may have negatively affected retail inventories and sales.. TeleCheck reported a 2.5% national increase for August with the northeast and southeast posting the biggest gains of 4.3%.

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Pizza Without Real Dough

Pizza Hut, Inc. announced Wednesday it will accept bank credit cards at all 4,200 company-owned Pizza Huts in the U.S., beginning Sept. 14. The Dallas-based company has been accepting credit cards at selected locations for the past 12 months, and to date, more than 80% of Pizza Hut units are currently participating. Pizza Hut has been introducing credit cards into company stores at the rate of 105 stores per week. Approximately 85% of the 3,500 franchise locations are taking credit cards or planning to take credit cards by the end of September.

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Datacap AmEx Certified

America Express (AmEx), Datacap Systems and NXT Corporation are pleased to announce DataTran certification for direct AmEx card authorization and settlement. The NXT network allows merchants using Datacap products to process AmEx cards directly to AmEx, eliminating transaction fees associated with other AmEx card processing methods. The DataTran interface is the first payment system to utilize NXT’s AmEx interface solely for AmEx transactions. This feature is immediately available to DataTran developers.

“NXT is the new, preferred method of direct American Express card processing. We are pleased to have DataTran certified, making the NXT interface easily available to payment system developers and merchants,” announced Paul Dottle, Vice President, Electronic Merchant Services, American Express Establishment Services. “PIP is a crucial part of American Express’ POS strategy. NXT has the only non-terminal interface into the American Express terminal capture system. This interface is superior to other network access methods, and is more robust than out dial batch host. Moving forward aggressively, DataTran can make direct interface available to thousands of restaurants and retailers accepting AmEx cards today who can not get higher service levels at even more favorable rates.”

“We’re please to support this major American Express initiative, leading again by providing better service levels at lower cost to integrated payment system developers and merchants. We’ve worked with American Express and NXT for over a year and are glad to see the efforts result in benefits for everyone. Current DataTran developers and users benefit and this is another good reason for payment system developers and merchants to insist on DataTran,” stated Datacap President and CEO, Terry Zeigler.

DataTran provides simple, flexible and reliable card and check payment interfaces for any retail system or register. DataTran is a cost-effective, easily supportable payment solution for a wide variety of POS, ECT and PC payment systems.

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E-Commerce for Small Firms

Maagnum E-Commerce Services, Inc., a leading Internet commerce provider, today confirmed its commitment to the small to mid-size business community with the announcement of its new single-source commerce service, Maagnum AllCommerce(SM) [(http://www.allcommerce.com).][1]

Maagnum AllCommerce enables home offices, small businesses, professionals, and mid-size companies to affordably and easily add and integrate electronic commerce services with traditional phone order processing, warehousing, and distribution services. Just as businesses outsource payroll processing to companies such as ADP, web site owners can now outsource their entire commerce process to one company, Maagnum, for online order processing, secure credit card authorization, catalog management, warehousing, electronic and hard goods fulfillment, telephone and fax order processing.

“E-commerce is not easy,” said Cyrus Maaghul, President of Maagnum Internet Group, of which E-Commerce Services is a division. “There are many hidden technical and administrative hurdles. A lot of companies are peddling software and services to small to mid-size businesses who may not understand the complexities of managing an electronic storefront or how to integrate it with their existing businesses. We make it possible for web storefront owners to be online in a matter of hours, by simply posting a secure h.plink onto their web site. At Maagnum, we bring the old and new together in one affordable, easy to buy, and easy to understand service.”

Maaghul went on to say, “It’s significant that we’ve been helping small to mid-size companies for the past two and a half years and, during that time, electronic orders approaching a million have been processed securely over the Internet utilizing our SafeSell(SM) e-commerce service. By combining that track record with our new comprehensive, single-source commerce service, we’re taking electronic commerce to a new level of ease-of-use, integration, and affordability. The benefits of electronic commerce are now available without the hassles of selecting the right technology, integrating the parts, and managing what is becoming a very complex process.”(http://www.taunton.com) came to Magnum with a need for a secure Internet commerce site on which to market their books and magazines on fine woodworking, gardening, cooking, and sewing. Roy Swanson, Director of New Media, was “very impressed with Maagnum’s responsiveness, dependability, and commitment to quality.” Swanson felt that “their experience in electronic commerce helped us get online quickly, stay up reliably, and improve our site effectively.” More than 8,000 visitors per week go to Taunton’s site and orders exceed the company’s expectations.

Maagnum E-Commerce Services [(http://www.safesell.com)][2] provides end-to-end commerce solutions for retail, software, and direct marketing companies of any size, including online order processing, credit card authorization, catalog management, warehousing, fulfillment, telephone, and/or fax order processing service.

[1]: http://www.allcommerce.com
[2]: http://www.safesell.com

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Sierra MasterCard

Sierra On-Line, Inc. and MBNA rolled out the ‘Sierra MasterCard’ Wednesday.. Upon first use of the card for a purchase or cash advance, customers will receive their choice of one free Sierra software product from 23 top selections. Customers also receive an automatic 10% discount on all Sierra software products. Additionally, cardholders earn points based on 1% of all purchases charged to the Sierra MasterCard. After accumulating 20 points, a $20 coupon will be sent to the customer, redeemable for any Sierra software purchased through mail order. The no-annual-fee Sierra MasterCard will be available in two versions: Platinum Plus and Preferred and will offer a five-month promo rate on cash advances and balance transfers.

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Japan’s ATM War

Competition is heating up in Japan between the Posts Ministry and private sector banks over ATM service hours and fees. Japan’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications requested a 6 billion yen appropriation this morning to expand ATM service to weekends and holidays. The Posts Ministry wants to open nearly 6,000 ATMs or about 30% of its ATM network on weekends and holidays. The move may also force down ATM fees. Japan’s bank-owned ATMs currently charge 105 yen per transaction after 2pm on Saturdays and on holidays. The Posts Ministry indicated it will hold to its policy of no surcharge for the expanded convenience. Last week the Posts Ministry requested appropriations to link its ATMS with private-sector ATM networks.

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Entrust SET Extension

In keeping with its objective to provide unmatched security for applications that are driving the industry, Entrust Technologies, the leading provider of Certification Authority (CA) and key management products, today announced a Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) extension to its Entrust/Manager(TM) software. By adding the SET capability, Entrust will be the only company offering certificate-based security solutions all from a single Entrust public-key infrastructure (PKI) to serve intranet and Web-based needs and SET applications.

With the SET extension, an Entrust PKI will allow companies such as banks, large retailers or other credit card-issuing organizations to become a SET CA, permitting them to issue certificates to consumers, merchants and payment gateways involved in SET transactions. SET certificates accompanying consumer and merchant software applications provide strong authentication through digital signatures and transaction confidentiality through encryption, paving the way for secure electronic commerce.

“Doing business over the Internet will be the norm in the near future. SET opens doors to merchants and consumers who want to conduct business in this manner securely and with confidence,” said John Ryan, Entrust Technologies’ president and chief executive officer. “With its new SET functionality, Entrust is demonstrating its capability to evolve its platform to support new industry standards.”

The SET extension to Entrust/Manager(TM) will adhere to the PKIX-3 standard for certificate management services. With its SET functionality, Entrust will give businesses a comprehensive solution that issues SET 1.0 certificates; “enterprise” certificates for desktop applications, such as e-mail, e-form and remote LAN access, to secure corporate intranets; and Web certificates, used by browsers and servers to secure Web sessions with the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. This all-in-one Entrust solution will give customers the power to deploy security for virtually any network application.

With the new SET capabilities, Entrust will have the following distinguishing features:

Standards compliance: Entrust adheres to the SET 1.0 protocol, issues X.509 version 3 certificates and supports the PKIX-3 certificate management standard. In addition, Entrust Technologies plans to test Entrust’s SET capabilities with Tenth Mountain Systems, Inc. (TMS), the SET Compliance Authority.

Scalability: The SET-enabled Entrust product supports a distributed registration authority infrastructure, important for large-scale implementations; and

Interoperability: Entrust’s SET functionality supports cross-certification with superior CAs in the SET hierarchy.

Availability

Entrust/Manager software with SET capability will be available in the fourth quarter of 1997.

Entrust Technologies is dedicated to ensuring the privacy and authenticity of data communications enterprisewide. Its award-winning public-key infrastructure technology combines encryption and digital signature capabilities with fully automated key management. Widely used by financial institutions, government agencies and high-tech corporations, the Entrust software family provides a complete security solution across multiple platforms for desktops, corporate networks, intranets and the Internet. Entrust Technologies is headquartered in Richardson, Texas and Ottawa, Canada with offices in New York, California, North Carolina, Virginia, and the U.K. It is a majority-owned subsidiary of Nortel (Northern Telecom).

Visit Entrust Technologies’ Web site at [http://www.entrust.com ][1]

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

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MedPlus Card Gets Financial Support

MedPlus Corp. (OTC BB:MDPL) (“MDPL”) announced an alliance with Stone Asset Management Inc. (“SAM”) an investment banking firm.

MedPlus Corp. has made rapid headway in their continuing effort to facilitate future growth through capital restructuring. On July 28, MedPlus has entered into an alliance with the Dallas investment banking firm of Stone Asset Management Inc.

This dynamic company is in the process of introducing MedPlus to domestic and international investing institutions and broker-dealers with the objective of increasing our concern’s liquidity by expanding financing endeavors throughout the capital markets.

In order to increase investor awareness of MedPlus, SAM has initiated a number of heristic efforts and are eagerly awaiting the results.

MedPlus Corp. is the only publicly traded company in the Health Finance Organization industry. The company is in the business of providing financing to patients in the medical community. This is done by providing instant approval at the time of service through the company’s Private Label Credit Card.

In addition, the company will finance all self-pay charges, bill the patient, and collect and disperse Provider funds that originate within the consumer driven program.

MedPlus is also launching and marketing its “consumer driven” medical card. MedPlus seeks to have income, on a proforma basis, of $2.8 million, $11.5 million and $34.7 million in years 1, 2, and 3 respectively, without the acquisition of the insurance company.

Revenues of $6.1 million, $23.9 million, and $78.2 million are possible on a proforma basis in years 1, 2, and 3 with the acquisition of the insurance company, with an EBIT of $56.9 million in year 3.

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Matsushita Consolidates

Yet another breaking story in Japan this morning is Tuesday’s announcement by Matsushita Electric Industrial Company that it will consolidate its Matsushita Credit Service Company and nine other regional card issuing subsidiaries into one Osaka-based firm, Masushita Credit Company, effective Oct. 1. Matsushita has been on a cost-cutting campaign and has launched efforts to improve customer service.

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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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