IBM, USA Technologies Announce Self-Service Breakthrough, E-Commerce Technology Offering New Way to Shop, Advertise

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SOMERS, NY & WAYNE, PA - 02 Dec 1999: ... IBM Corp. and USA Technologies Inc. today announced an industry first -- an e-commerce solution that allows consumers to conduct simple, secure and direct transactions virtually anywhere.

This self-service technology -- called e-Port -- is the first non-PC device to allow consumers to conduct e-commerce purchases at vending machines, convenience stores, gas pumps and other high-traffic retail points-of-sale.

Developed by USA Technologies and supported by IBM Global Services, e-Port also allows advertisers to operate electronic storefronts with ever-changing promotional offers at traditional retail locations.

All e-Port terminals contain a video display screen that features rotating banner advertisements. Consumers can respond to an advertisement via a touch-screen and speakerphone, which connects them to the merchant advertising the product or service. A swipe of any major credit card will complete the transaction. The consumer also can enter an e-mail address to receive more information, or an electronic coupon.

IBM Global Services is helping transform and design USA Technologies' proprietary TransAct credit card authorization and payment system. Together with the e-Port device, this networked solution allows for micro-payment -- the use of credit cards for very small transaction amounts -- and secure credit card transactions in unattended settings.

IBM also is working with USA Technologies to migrate the service to the Internet. The Web-based solution will support on-line advertising, international charge card processing and real-time e-commerce at the point-of-sale. In addition, IBM will manufacture the initial supply of e-Port devices for pilot implementation.

"This represents an unprecedented opportunity for traditional 'brick and mortar' companies to deliver interactive advertising and e-commerce services to remote locations," said Robert Gault, vice president, IBM Small and Medium Business Services, IBM Global Services, Americas. "This solution has the potential to drive brand presence to literally millions of point-of-sale locations worldwide."

"IBM is providing a total solution -- everything from manufacturing and systems integration to e-commerce enablement and support," Gault said. "We're helping USA Technologies deliver its unique services to consumers everywhere."

IBM Global Services also will help USA Technologies establish and support up to 5,000 Business Express® facilities -- the world's first 24-hour, credit card-activated business centers -- at hotels and other locations.

Currently located in 400 U.S. hotels, Business Express is the leading self-serve business center. Each center offers business travelers and consumers quick access to desktop workstations, laptop PCs, printers, copiers and fax machines. IBM personal computers, which provide Internet and e-mail services, are part of the Business Express solution. IBM supports the business centers with workstation installation, maintenance, and business recovery services, as well as customer call
center support.

"Through our flagship product, Business Express®, we already offer e-business services to business travelers in locations across the U.S.," said George R. Jensen, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of USA Technologies. ""Going forward, we can bring the same benefits -- and a whole new level of interactivity via e-Port -- to consumers worldwide."

The e-Port device is being pilot tested in the Philadelphia area. Production quantities are expected to start shipping later this month.

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