MasterCard and Microsoft Align to Provide Online Resources for Small Businesses

REDMOND, Wash., June 15, 2000 — MasterCard International Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced the formal rollout of an advertising and marketing agreement to help small businesses stay ahead of the competition. The Microsoft® bCentral™
small-business portal and MasterCard’s Small Business Connections sites will connect small businesses with the Internet’s top business services and MasterCard’s best-in-class payment solutions.

MasterCard will today begin its rollout of the full capabilities of Small Business Connections. Through this agreement, small businesses visiting bCentral will have direct access to credit financing and flexible payment solutions from the MasterCard Small Business Connections site.

“Microsoft bCentral helps small businesses get started on the Web as well as manage and market their businesses online,”
said Jonathan Weinstein, director of marketing for Microsoft bCentral.
“With the services MasterCard provides, such as payment solutions, business tools and leading-edge information, this program is a great extension of the services available to small businesses on bCentral.”

“MasterCard is looking to align with corporations that share our strategy for supporting the small-business community. Like MasterCard, Microsoft has also committed significant resources to help ensure the best available information for small businesses,”
said Steve Abrams, senior vice president, Corporate Payment Solutions, MasterCard International.
“This relationship empowers the small-business owner through a rich and unprecedented resource of information.”

About MasterCard Small Business Connections

MasterCard is committed to creating initiatives to meet the needs of the small-business customer through the Internet. MasterCard Small Business Connections is a unique initiative that connects small businesses with top business-to-business Internet resources such as Microsoft bCentral, ZDNet, , and The site offers small businesses financial resources to manage expenses, industry news and information, special discounts, better buying opportunities for programs and services, technology solutions for marketing and sales, Web design, hosting and e-commerce. The following are among the small-business programs available through MasterCard Small Business Connections:

  • Business Bonuses. This flexible rewards program offers a unique combination of benefits, including points for airline miles with no blackout periods, designed especially for growing businesses.

  • Business Savings Program. On behalf of small businesses, MasterCard has negotiated savings of 10 percent to 42 percent on key goods and services in categories that include legal, personnel, financial, office supplies, business travel, communications, business planning, marketing and public relations.

  • MarketAccess. This program serves as a marketplace where small-business cardholders buy and sell goods and services online. MarketAccess provides a secure, one-stop shopping resource for small businesses by introducing offers from a growing list of suppliers, including Business Solution,,, PaperDirect Online, PC Flowers & Gifts, and MarketAccess also enables businesses to create a Web site with storefronts at no charge, helping them build or expand their e-commerce initiatives.

  • Smart Data Online. This Web-based tool assists small businesses in organizing, consolidating, analyzing and managing financial data through the Internet. Accessed through a Web browser in real time, Smart Data Online helps small businesses improve efficiency in reconciling expenses and eliminating time-consuming paperwork.

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1 billion MasterCard® , Cirrus® and Maestro® logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association composed of 22,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories. MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds. With more than 18 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card. In 1999, gross dollar volume exceeded $727 billion (U.S.). MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at .

About bCentral

The Microsoft bCentral online business service is a Web-based portal created specifically to meet the needs of small and growing companies. bCentral provides a comprehensive, affordable and integrated suite of services to help companies move their businesses forward on the Web. bCentral focuses on three core areas:

  • Getting a business started online (includes connecting to the Web and building a business Web site)

  • Promoting and marketing a business online

  • Managing a business more effectively

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a

wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft and bCentral are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries/regions.

MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Inc.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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