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News & Articles:

Internet Retailer, July 10, 2002 - An e-check for overseas customers at U.S. e-retail sites by Kurt Peters. "A group of former high-level executives at MasterCard and Visa is launching a payment vehicle for international Internet transactions--and it’s not credit-card based..."

Credit Union Times, May 22, 2002 - En-point provides United Airlines ECU solution for overseas funds transfers by Elaine Barr. "Overseas members of United Airlines Employee's Credit Union have one of their own to thank for making it easier to move funds into their UAECU accounts..."

American Banker, March 28, 2002: Electronic Commerce: E-Billing Start-Up Mines Card Industry for Leaders, by Steve Bills. "A start-up business-to-business Internet billing company has assembled an eye-catching executive lineup that reads like an alumni roster from Visa International, MasterCard International, and First Data Corp..." Read article...

Press Announcements:


* Fidesic to integrate Payment Partners' En-point Direct service to enable international electronic invoicing and payment solutions - July 15

* Payment Partners Introduces Alternative to Fraudulent and Costly International Credit Card Payments for Online Retailers - High shopping cart abandonment rates on international purchases can be reduced with new cross-border electronic payment method - July 9

* Payment Partners Launches New "Web Services" Based International Payment Solution - Now any business can receive payments from its international customers or distributors directly through their web site or email - May 29

* United Airlines Employees' Credit Union Makes Payment Partners' En-point(sm) Service Available To Its International Members - April 30

* Pete Hart, Former MasterCard CEO, Named Advisor to Payment Partners, Appointment marks the first collaboration of the former chief executives from MasterCard and Visa - March 12

* Payment Partners Selected to Participate in UCSD CONNECT’S 18th Annual Technology Financial Forum - February 22

* AMREP to use Payment Partners' “EN-POINT” Electronic Payment Services to Receive Payments from International Customers - February 15

* Payment Partners announces appointment of Randy W. Salo as Chief Technology Officer - February 7

* Payment Partners Adds Scandinavia and Portugal to its En-point International EFT Network - January 31


* Maid Brigade Selects Payment Partners' "En-point"(sm) Service To Provide International Direct Funds Transfers - December 4

* Payment Partners Introduces Major Expansion of International Funds Transfer Services - November 2

* New Version of FirstGiro Adds International Tuition Payments - April 16

* FirstWeb Bancorp Introduces FirstGiro, a New Interne- Based Cross Border Payment Service - January 15

For Media Relations please contact Tara Zanecki, 949-221-1155, tara@paymentpartners.com.


July 15, 2002, Bellevue, Washington. - Fidesic™, a premier provider of Electronic Invoicing and Payments (EIP) solutions, and Payment Partners(sm), a leading provider of electronic international funds transfer and payment services, today announced an agreement to integrate the Payment Partners En-point Direct service into Fidesic's EIP solutions. This will expand Fidesic's capabilities to include presentment of invoices to, and receipt of electronic payments from international payables accounts, and will be the first service provider to implement Payment Partners' recently launched En-point Direct capabilities.

The newly expanded global service will be available in Q3 2002 and will provide Fidesic customers with the ability to send invoices to overseas customers and receive US Dollar payments from payers and businesses located nineteen of the world's top banking centers.. The payment instructions included with each invoice are targeted to complement the payer's domestic payment system which is unique to each country's banking system, enabling the foreign payment to be in their currency.

"Global business is not limited to Global 2000 companies. Mid-size businesses are playing an increasingly important role in the global business environment," said Naseem Tuffaha, CEO of Fidesic. "By extending our EIP solution to support international transactions, we are furthering our leadership position in offering the most comprehensive EIP solution available for mid-size businesses."

"Fidesic has uniquely addressed customer needs by delivering an EIP solution that is deeply integrated with the leading mid-market accounting applications," said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, CEO of Payment Partners. "Using the En-point Direct capability, Fidesic customers will be able to perform all transactions, whether domestic or international, as part of one integrated solution."

"We have been evaluating solutions that will expand our capabilities to include international payments," said Bassam Saliba, CTO of Fidesic. "En-point is the most robust, easy-to-use system we have seen. Our customers have been asking for international invoicing and payment functionality. En-point enables us to provide that service more quickly than if we had chosen to develop it on our own."

The implementation of En-point Direct into Fidesic's solution offers a number of key benefits including:

- Integration with accounting software and bank accounts
- Fast, reliable transfer times
- Real-time funds movement tracking
- Competitive currency conversion rates

The En-Point Direct capability will enable businesses in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Singapore, France, Germany, Australia, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands to send payment to Fidesic customers in the United States.

For more information about Fidesic's expanded capabilities, contact Brian Riseland at brianr@fidesic.com or visit www.fidesic.com. For more information about Payment Partners' En-point service, contact Tara Zanecki at tara@paymentpartners.com or visit their web site at: www.paymentpartners.com or www.en-point.com.


PAYMENT PARTNERS INTRODUCES ALTERNATIVE TO FRAUDULENT AND COSTLY INTERNATIONAL CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS FOR ONLINE RETAILERS High shopping cart abandonment rates on international purchases can be reduced with new cross-border electronic payment method

July 9, 2002, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm), a leading provider of international funds transfer and payment services, announced today the availability of its En-point Direct service as a new payment option that will enhance existing shopping cart technology and resolve many of the issues online retailers face when accepting payments from international customers.

With global e-commerce expected to reach $145 Billion by 2003, retailers are scrambling to find better ways to accept payments for goods shipped internationally. The leading online payment method in the United States, the credit card, is not as widely held internationally. In addition, it is a risky option for many retailers due to a fraud rate of 10-20% and the difficulty in retrieving goods from overseas on rescinded payments for which the merchants take all the risk.

Although credit card providers are working diligently to expand the use of credit cards in the international marketplace, credit card usage in European, Asian and other countries is far below that of U.S. consumers, and this does not appear to be changing quickly. Furthermore, when a credit card is used by a CNP (card not present customer), the merchant typically pays a 2.6 percent fee on each transaction, and the consumer pays an additional 2 to 5 percent on top of existing currency conversion rates.

It is estimated that 30 percent of visitors to U.S. online retailers are from foreign locations. "International customers want to purchase products from U.S. vendors because they generally have better pricing and more selection," said Chuck Russell, Payment Partners' Chairman and former CEO of Visa® International. "But a number of barriers force them to abandon their virtual shopping carts - especially when it comes to payment options. En-point's merchant- and consumer-driven payment alternative is poised to supersede credit cards and wire transfers for international online payments. It is simply a better way to pay on both ends."

Alex "Pete" Hart, Payment Partners board advisor and former CEO of Mastercard®, agreed, "Most American online retailers only bill in U.S. dollars, making currency conversion another major obstacle to completing an international purchase. En-point Direct provides a superior method for the retailer and consumer to manage the entire transaction suited to their different payment cultures and customs."

En-point Direct offers U.S. merchants the ability to provide immediate and guaranteed foreign exchange rates for all items in a shopping cart, and provides the purchaser the total amount in their own currency. Plus it gives them the ability to make a domestic payment in their local currency because the foreign exchange and funds transfer is done in the background. The payments are always non-rescindable, and because the En-point Direct system is integrated, the customer experience is seamless (no special log-in or registration required). Tracking via email or browser-based access is also available, offering data such as date stamps, amounts and fees on all transactions. Orders can also be shipped earlier as the payment visibility of "good funds" can occur even before they hit the merchants' bank account.

En-point Direct is ready now for implementation by merchants and shopping cart providers. Documentation is available upon request by email: info@paymentpartners.com or by calling the company directly at: 800-798-0421.


PAYMENT PARTNERS LAUNCHES NEW "WEB SERVICES"BASED INTERNATIONAL PAYMENT SOLUTION Now any business can receive payments from its international customers or distributors directly through their web site or email

May 29, 2002, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm), a leading provider of international funds transfers and payment services, announced today the launch of its new Web Services offering, "En-point Direct." En-point Direct is a ground-breaking payment solution, currently unavailable even through the largest global financial institutions, delivering flexible, web-based options for businesses with a need to accept payments or funds transfers from overseas.

En-point Direct allows companies to bypass traditional foreign wire transfers, which can be rife with errors, are costly and difficult for customers to trace if lost. En-point Direct can be implemented into any web environment, back-end system, or proprietary client, to allow companies to:

1. Send electronic payment requests with payment instructions specific to each country/currency embedded in the request
2. Receive payment from international payors through their web, intranet or extranet with the currency conversion handled in the background
3. Offer single sign-on/user identification for a seamless end-user experience
4. Deposit funds in the US via ACH directly into the customer bank account
5. Feed payment data (i.e., customer, invoice or account number) into an existing cash management or accounting system
6. Generate custom reports for all transactions for any or all parties involved in the transaction
7. Automate the generation of invoices with international payment instructions
8. Support international transactions as easily, and seamlessly, as their domestic transactions
9. Extend their reach to international buyers
10. Gain early access and visibility into their impending payments

Payment Partners has made En-point Direct available to software and service providers interested in extending their cash management, supply chain and other software and service product suites internationally, and to companies with a need to receive international payments in the United States. Since it is Web-based and designed according to industry standard SOAP interfaces, most installations can be completed in a matter of days. Payment Partners also offers project management and integration assistance to assure smooth implementation.

"The Payment Partners team is aggressively developing products that meet the rapidly-evolving payment needs of today's businesses," said Chuck Russell, board chairman of Payment Partners and former CEO of Visa International. "Our company is pioneering ways to replace archaic payment devices and En-point Direct is a bold new example of their unmatched efforts."

"This announcement comes with great pride after completing our period of research, development and testing," said Randy Salo, CTO of Payment Partners. "We set out to deliver a better mousetrap, but what we succeeded in developing has exceeded even our expectations. Taking our proprietary payment methodology down the web services path has resulted in an incredible capability that is ready for primetime."

"Now any business can receive payments from its international customers or distributors directly through their web site or even email," said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, Chief Executive of Payment Partners. "Numerous payment service providers have lined up to enhance their international cash management packages with En-point, and we look forward to making those announcements shortly."

To ensure the secure transfer of funds across international borders through the web services product, En-point Direct employs multiple layers of protection through industry-standard digital certificates, IP address filtering and registration, dual firewall configuration and encryption. The service also incorporates transaction-screening guidelines in the recently passed Patriot Act of 2001.

Payment Partners will provide documentation to interested parties upon request. To reach the company, visit their web site at http://www.paymentpartners.com.



April 30, 2002, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm) announced today that United Airlines Employees' Credit Union (UAECU) will offer the En-point international funds transfer service to its overseas members as a safe and easy method for moving funds into their US-based UAECU accounts.

With approximately 8,000 member households located overseas, UAECU has a steady volume of incoming wires, checks and money orders issued from international banks, which brings an expensive and cumbersome clearing process along with it. The Payment Partners' service streamlines the transfer of funds, providing ease of use, free deposits and cost savings for the credit union and its members overseas.

"Before En-point, our foreign and overseas members had no convenient method of depositing funds, and often didn't even know how to attempt to send them," said Frank Weidner, Sr. Vice President Member Services of UAECU. "We expect the number of deposits to increase greatly because we're offering our overseas members an easier and faster method of depositing funds to the credit union, especially with the high dividend rates we have historically paid."

The agreement between Payment Partners and UAECU involves a co-marketing arrangement whereby UAECU will promote and provide the En-point service to its internationally based customers. In return, Payment Partners will provide marketing support and host a custom "welcome page" to UAECU members. Both companies will work together to encourage the members to use the service by promoting its many benefits.

"We are pleased to have such a globally visible organization recognize the advantages of our service for their vast overseas community. En-point is a superb product for users with the need to send funds to any financial account in the United States," said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, CEO of Payment Partners. "We have already heard the praises from the first UAECU member to perform a transfer to her account through En-point and we look forward to serving many more to come."

"I was delighted to see just how easy and useful this service is - and could be for many other UAECU members around the globe," said Jeannette Weichhardt, a German-based United Airlines Employees' Credit Union member.

The service will be visible within days to all UAECU members through their online banking site (http://www.uaecu.org/) or through the En-point site (http://www.en-point.com/uaecu.asp). Users may enroll online, at no cost, 24-hours a day at the en-point.com web site.



March 12, 2002, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm) announced today that Alex W. "Pete" Hart, the former CEO of MasterCard® and Advanta Corporation (NasdaqNM: ADVNA) will Join the Payment Partners advisory board.

As Payment Partners' newest advisory board member, Hart will engage in activities similar to a board director, receiving monthly Board materials and invitations to participate in Board meetings, along with the opportunity to participate in the growth and value of the company.

"The importance of international payments has expanded well beyond the ranks of big multinational corporations to include companies of all sizes that make much smaller international transactions," said Hart. "The traditional international payments industry has missed the opportunity to find better, faster and cheaper solutions for these businesses. I'm delighted to join the Payment Partners advisory board, and am energized by being on the cutting edge of such a dynamic opportunity."

Hart joins another financial and payment industry icon, Payment Partners' Chairman, Charles T. Russell, the former CEO of Visa International and current director of First Data Corporation. "This is the first time that former CEOs of both Visa International and MasterCard have served together with the same company" said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, Chief Executive of Payment Partners. "Being recognized by such capable leaders in the payments industry validates the need and opportunity for Payment Partners' services. The knowledge and expertise of Pete Hart and Chuck Russell provide even greater horsepower for our company."

Hart is currently a consultant specializing in payment services and consumer finance. His particular focus is on emerging technologies and their impact on distribution strategies. Prior to MasterCard, Hart spent ten years at First Interstate Bancorp (now Wells Fargo), and founded and chaired the CIRRUS® System network, among other distinctive roles.



February 22, 2002, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm) a provider of electronic international payment services, announced today it has been chosen to participate in the 2002 Technology Financial Forum sponsored by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) CONNECT program.

CONNECT's 18th annual Technology Financial Forum, to be held March 13 at the Sheraton Harbor Island, features exhibit booths and business plan presentations from Southern California's most promising early-stage companies to an audience of investors, venture capitalists and related attendees.

Payment Partners was chosen as one of only 24 companies invited to present at the forum from an initial round of more than 80 applicants. Participants are chosen by undergoing a series of short presentations geared toward the investment community and are asked to demonstrate their value, capabilities, product or service, and credentials in under 8 minutes. “It was a constructive challenge to condense the important elements of our service, its growth from concept to a working product on the market, and our sales activities to date into what basically boils down to an elevator pitch,” said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, Chief Executive of Payment Partners. “We are thrilled to have been chosen to join such an elite group of Southern California businesses and believe the merits of our Board of Directors, our ownership of a federally-regulated bank, and the growing industry need for our services helped secure our entrance to the forum.”

The program promises a full day of talks from leading industry experts and some of the region's top entrepreneurial talent. A cocktail reception follows in the exhibit hall. Last year's Forum featured 34 presenting companies, including Active.com, Egea BioSciences, Inc., Aperio Technologies Inc., Mohomine, Inc., and ChemNavigator.

Payment Partners seeks an additional funding round of $10mm to support expanded business development and sales efforts and to accelerate market penetration.



February 15, 2002, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm) announced today that AMREP, Inc. will begin accepting payments from their overseas customers using Payment Partners’ En’point international payment services.

Amrep, a manufacturer of specialty chemical products for the automotive, industrial, water treatment and consumer products industries, specializes in producing high-end chemical products on a branded or private labeled basis. With a growing international sales force and expanded global distribution, Amrep sought to make cross-border payments easier, both for them and for their customers.

“We knew our overseas customers were paying really high fees and foreign exchange rates on their invoice payments to us and we wanted to resolve this issue for them,” said Michelle Evans, Cash Manager of Amrep, Inc. “In addition, the payment visibility offered by the tracking features with En’point allows us to forecast our international accounts receivables in a much more accurate and timely manner - ultimately saving us time and costs on administration and research.”

En-point(sm), Payment Partners’ direct electronic funds transfer service, allows users overseas to safely and economically send funds to holders of US bank accounts for fees as low as $5. “En-point really does solve a lot of problems for both originators and beneficiaries of cross-border transactions,” said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, CEO, Payment Partners, “we’re glad to see Amrep take advantage of the cost savings and cash management benefits offered through our service and welcome them to our growing community of En-point companies.”

Payment Partners’ new clients need only notify their overseas customers about the service, who may then complete the En-point sender enrollment process online in a matter of minutes. Because the En-point system links these businesses together, a virtual private payment network is created for transaction viewing, payment requests and more.



January 31, 2002, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm) announced today that effective immediately Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Portugal have joined the rapidly growing list of countries now covered by its En-point(sm) international EFT services. Payment Partners, of Irvine, Calif. Provides fast, low-cost account-to-account electronic payments and funds transfer services to businesses and individuals that need to move funds from international accounts into U.S. bank or investment accounts.

"The addition of these five countries completes the latest phase in our expansion plan and provides a significant lift in our ability to meet expanding customer demand for our En-point service in more countries" said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, Chief Executive of Payment Partners. "We initially underestimated the demand for transactions with a few countries that were further down on our target list - a high-class problem that we are only too happy to address quickly.”

En-point, the Company’s direct electronic funds transfer service, allows users overseas to safely and economically send funds to holders of US bank accounts for fees as low as $5. Individuals and businesses can receive payments from international senders or move funds into their USD bank and investment accounts. The En-point service provides transaction reporting unavailable through traditional wire transfers and international drafts permitting both senders and receivers to track payments on line and match this information with their internal accounting systems.



February 8, 2002, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm), a leading provider of cross-border direct funds transfers and payment services, announced today the appointment of Randy W. Salo as the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Salo joins Payment Partners to lead the technical development of its En-point service (www.en-point.com), which enables businesses and individuals to easily, quickly and cost-effectively move funds across international borders.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Payment Partners at a time when an industry such as global payments is in such dire need of modernizing,” said Randy Salo, Payment Partners’ new CTO, “delivering leading-edge solutions to update age-old commerce systems is exciting and I look forward to the challenge.”

“We are delighted to have Randy Salo as our technology leader,” said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, CEO of Payment Partners, “his expertise and vision will greatly assist us in providing our time and money saving service to all clients with the need to make and receive cross-border payments.”

Salo comes to Payment Partners with over 20 years experience in engineering, project management, sales and marketing. Most recently he has been a technology planning consultant for companies including Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), LogicTree and Sensoria. And previously Salo held other executive and senior engineering management positions at Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), BrookTree/Rockwell, and Mentor Graphics (Nasdaq: MENT), as well as co-founding Wireless Knowledge, Inc.

Salo holds a BS in Computer Science from Oregon State University and is a member of ACM, EIA, and AEA. Salo also sits on the board of several privately held companies.



December 4, 2001, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm), a leading provider of cross-border direct funds transfers and payment services, has been selected by Maid Brigade(sm) of Atlanta, Georgia, to provide its En-point(sm) international electronic payment services to facilitate the transfer of monthly royalty fee payments from overseas franchisees. Payment Partners, of Irvine, Calif. provides fast, low-cost account-to-account international EFT services to businesses and individuals that need to move funds from international bank accounts into U. S. bank and investment accounts.

Singapore will be the first Maid Brigade(sm) international location to begin using the En-point EFT service. "As our number of international franchises grows, we’ve realized the current, somewhat cumbersome method of receiving cross-border royalty payments will need to be streamlined. We are pleased to have been introduced to the En-point service for the time and cost saving benefits, as well as the ability to track the payments online,” said Ann Floyd, of Maid Brigade. “Payment notifications and detailed reports provided through the service, as well as the elimination of currency conversion hassles will make life much easier in our accounting department".

“International bank wires can be very expensive and difficult to track. International bank drafts are even more expensive and can be excruciatingly slow, often taking weeks to process. Our En-point service enables foreign bank account holders to send funds directly to any U.S. bank account in as little as two days” said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, Chief Executive of Payment Partners. "Plus there are no hidden transaction fees as is often the case with bank wire transfers, and the exchange rate is guaranteed up front."

Introduction of the service to other Maid Brigade international locations is expected to follow shortly.



November 20, 2001, Irvine, California. - Payment Partners(sm), a leading provider of international direct funds transfers and payment services, announced today it is expanding its efficient and effective cross-border electronic funds transfer service by adding additional countries and additional transfer options.

Payment Partners offers the business community three alternatives to provide for the transfer of funds internationally through its En-point(sm) services:

1. "En-point Direct Funds Transfer" service. Any business needing to receive payments from any sender overseas may enroll at www.en-point.com.

2. "En-point Direct Access” service which supports the basic functionality of direct funds transfers but with a co-branded access point and service pages directly from the business' web site or intranet, with a return back to the originating site.

3. "En-point Private Payment Network" for companies, such as brokerages or other financial institutions with an overseas customer base desiring a private-label service, or corporations wishing to expand their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technology to include Financial Supply Chain Management.

All service levels provide real-time, online transaction viewing and on-line and downloadable reporting. The service provides competitive currency conversion and transfer fees as low as $5.00 per transfer. Users maintain existing bank accounts while benefiting from fully electronic transfers.

Payment Partners, headquartered in Irvine, Calif. provides account-to-account international EFT services to businesses and individuals that need to move funds from international bank accounts into U.S. bank and investment accounts. An En-point transfer provides an alternative to the high fees, delays, and lack of reporting often found in traditional international wire transfers, bank drafts and other money transfer services.

"Our En-point service enables foreign bank account holders to send funds directly to any U.S. bank account in as little as two days” said Gregory J. Bjorndahl, Chief Executive of Payment Partners. "There are no hidden transaction fees as is often the case with bank wire transfers, and the exchange rate can be guaranteed before the funds transfer is initiated." While Payment Partners' initial focus will be on transfers of funds from overseas into U.S. bank accounts, the company can also move funds overseas.

"The En-point on-line transfer initiation and the ability for both the sender and receiver to track the payment progress on-line has become a particularly strong selling point to the business community," added Mr. Bjorndahl. Payment Partners offers its En-point service in 15 currencies today and expects to add five more by the end of the year.


About Payment Partners

Payment Partners offers international electronic funds transfers and payment services to businesses, individuals and e-commerce software integrators. Clients using Payment Partners' En-point services receive cross-border payments electronically, improve the time to receive international funds, reduce the costs of transfers, and receive detailed, web-based reporting in real-time. The Company offers these services as En-point Online (www.en-point.com), and En-point Direct.

Funds transfers and payments are made through global banking affiliates by way of Payment Partners' virtual banking network and transactions are processed through the Company's proprietary F/X engine and software database. Payment Partners is the first US business to provide these services utilizing Web Services industry standards.

Payment Partners is headquartered in Irvine, California, USA. For more information, visit www.paymentpartners.com. ..


FirstGiro International Funds Transfer Service Is The First to Offer Automated Tuition Payments to U.S. Universities

Irvine, California - April 16, 2001 - Today FirstWeb Bancorp, Inc. released a new version of its FirstGiro International Money Transfer Service. FirstGiro allows consumers to send and receive funds for $5 per transfer. The new version allows U.S. universities to receive tuition payments from their international students at no cost to the university. Universities will benefit from the substantial savings over credit card payments. Consumers may pay exact amounts to universities with the new service. For these transfers, the exchange rate will be guaranteed so a specific U.S. dollar amount will be delivered to the university.

University administrators, cashiers and accounts receivable personnel will benefit from access to online transaction reporting and downloadable reports for international student payments. Internet access to accurate payment information will enhance current methods for posting payments, assessing late charges and processing late payment waivers. Additionally, outsourcing the disbursement of international student living expenses to FirstGiro can reduce administrative costs.

FDIC insurance applies to all transfers in the FirstGiro network. FirstWeb has chosen trusted service providers who are financial services industry leaders including JP Morgan Chase Bank and Visa ACH Services. Transfers can be received from any country in the world by using either FirstGiro cash or wire transfers. Internet transaction reporting and email confirmations keep consumers informed of the status of each transfer from beginning to end. Consumers and universities can enroll in the new service through www.firstgiro.com, by calling 800-798-0421 (U.S. and Canada) or +1 949-221-1104 (International).



Irvine, California - January 15, 2001 - Today FirstWeb Bancorp introduced FirstGiro www.firstgiro.com, a breakthough financial payment service that enables international consumers to complete cross-border multi-currency payments over the Internet for a transaction fee of only $5. The FirstGiro service utilizes commonly used and convenient money transfer methods that consumers use today to pay their local bills or move money in their own domestic markets. The FirstGiro network bridges the gap between domestic and international payment systems, thereby enabling international account holders to execute cross-border money transfers securely over the Internet. These money transfers are easier to execute, less time consuming, and are much less expensive than traditional money transfer alternatives.

"FirstWeb has achieved a major milestone with FirstGiro," said Neil C. Godfrey, CEO and President of FirstWeb Bancorp. "Now international consumers will benefit from the true power of the Internet. FirstGiro gives consumers the ability to eliminate the costly middlemen and simplify the complex task involved with a cross-border transaction. FirstGiro will initially benefit consumer money transfers to the United States, and in the forthcoming months, will embrace the merchant community and business-to-business transactions. The increasing global nature of today's Internet economy necessitates the creation of a more efficient, more accessible and less fraud-prone cross-border payment service. With FirstGiro, we fill the void that exists today."

For a consumer, a bank wire transfer into another country can be a costly and daunting experience. Bank wire transfer systems and other cross-border payment services are cumbersome, labor intensive, involve a multitude of intermediaries, and are error prone requiring lengthy follow-up support. These services were designed for large-value commercial transactions, and it is quite easy for small-value consumer and small business money transfers to go astray.

However, FirstGiro is as easy as click, send and save. First, you enroll in the service at www.firstgiro.com. Next, based on instructions provided by FirstGiro, the consumer receives directions on how to send money to a FirstWeb bank account in his native country. Then, FirstWeb converts the funds and makes a deposit in the Receiver's bank account using the local clearing system in the destination country. Funds in the FirstGiro network are safe because they are insured at all times, and the private banking information of the funding account is never disclosed over the Internet. By eliminating costly and time consuming middlemen in the process, FirstGiro is able to cut two days, or more, out of today's cross-border wire transfer process.

More impressive, however, are the cost savings over alternative transfer methods. The FirstGiro transaction fee of $5 is significantly less than average bank wire fees of $35. The consumer can save additional time and convenience if automatic recurring transfer orders are set up at his bank or through his payroll service.

"The FirstGiro service will be particularly attractive to the merchant community in the U.S.," said David R. Challis, CTO and Executive Vice President. "Merchants will now be able to sell their goods to a broader international consumer market, those wishing to pay by cash instead of credit. FirstGiro will also remove for merchants the foreign exchange risk prevalent in many cross-border solutions that require price commitments in foreign currencies by the merchant. But, more importantly, merchants will now have an alternative to credit cards and the increasing fraud costs that they represent today. Credit card fraud on cross-border transactions can be as high as 10 to 20 percent, but FirstGiro will offer finality of payment and eliminate these escalating fraud costs."

"Our initial service is offered to international students studying and working in the United States," said Tom Cleveland, Senior Vice President - International. "As we simplify their money transfer activities, we will be expanding our global coverage and extending our service offerings to include e-tailing merchants, direct payments to universities, and money transfer services for the multitude of expatriate employees and retirees living outside of their home country. Money transfer capability between all service countries will then be a reality. The clear message for today's Internet savvy consumer is that FirstGiro wants to be your global money mover."

FirstWeb Bancorp, Inc., is a California corporation, which has brought together a unique combination of banking and payment service professionals along with software development expertise to create payment solutions for today's Internet economy. FirstWeb operates as a holding company and owns an FDIC insured financial institution, Security State Savings Bank, and a product development company. You can visit FirstWeb's corporate web site at www.fwbcorp.com for additional information.


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