America Online's Personal Finance Channel Marks 70% Growth in Member Use

March 2, 1998

For Its More than 5 Million Regular Users, AOL's Personal Finance Channel Makes Managing Investments, Checking Bank Account Balances and Getting Latest Market News as Easy as Checking E-mail *AOL Delivers 60 Million Stock Quotes and Updates 6 Million Portfolios Daily* Dulles, VA, March 2, 1998 - America Online's Personal Finance Channel is the cyberspace leader in the exploding growth of online investing and financial planning. One of the most popular areas on the service, AOL's Personal Finance Channel recorded a 70% growth in member use over the past year - making it the #1 financial site in cyberspace, according to the latest Media Metrix research. Through the Personal Finance Channel, AOL members maintain over six million active investment portfolios, get over 60 million stock quotes per day and generate over 13 million financial graphs per month. An average of 630,000 users access the Quotes & Portfolios area each trading day - with that number growing at a rate of 10,000 new users daily In addition, with more than 5 million regular users -- AOL's Personal Finance Channel attracts the most repeat users of any of the service's 21 channels, with the average user returning approximately once each week. "The explosive growth of online personal finance is illustrative of two converging trends - the mass market coming online and its growing passion for individual financial investing. This boom in online personal finance has made AOL's Personal Finance Channel the most visited financial site in cyberspace," said Bob Pittman, President and COO of America Online, Inc. --more-- Page Two Rob Shenk, Director of Programming for AOL's Personal Finance Channel, said, "AOL's goal is to empower our members to take control of their personal finances and become wiser, more self-reliant investors, by providing them with unprecedented access to relevant financial information and easy-to-use tools. We make keeping track of your investments and checking the latest business news as easy as checking your e-mail." Explosive Growth of Online Personal Finance By 2002, industry analysts project that the number of online brokerage accounts in circulation will swell to 14.4 million, up from 3 million today, and that one in every five Internet households will be investing online. The growth of online trading and banking is strong, propelled by the surge of computer sales, the interactive medium and AOL, increasing technological innovations and a rising percentage of household assets in stocks. Other contributing factors include: the growth of online shopping, which has made consumers more comfortable with transacting online; the lower cost of online trading; and a growing number of banks online. Said Bob Pittman, "Staying on top of your finances and managing money is an everyday issue for most people - and every month millions of members turn to AOL to make it easier and more convenient. And this is just the beginning. Financial issues will become increasingly relevant to today's younger people, creating a new generation for whom online money management will be a natural first choice." AOL's Personal Finance Channel provides the information and services people need to better understand and manage their personal finances - securely and independently. The Channel enables members to research and trade stocks and mutual funds, get the most up-to-date business and market news, access detailed financial data, calculate and file their taxes online, conduct their banking online, and communicate with other members and industry experts about market trends and financial information. Channel Features the Most Respected Names in Finance AOL has partnered with dozens of trusted financial services, institutions and information providers, and has integrated their financial content and functionality into the Personal Finance Channel's various areas, providing unrivaled access to financial research, stock quotes, news and investment tips - in one easy-to-use place. With partners like Bloomberg, Business Week, Disclosure, Hoovers, Intuit, Investor's Business Daily, Morningstar, Reuters, The Motley Fool, Sage, and Standard & Poor's to name a few, AOL's comprehensive financial offering is unparalleled in cyberspace. --more-- Page Three Key Personal Finance Channel features include: the Brokerage Center, which is a "virtual trading floor" for getting stock quotes and trading securities; Sage, the world's largest online mutual fund forum; a Banking Center open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; business news from Bloomberg and other leading news sources; cutting-edge tax information and services from Intuit; financial planning and advice from AOL LifeStages; chats with some of the world's most renowned financial experts; forums and message boards, where thousands of people exchange information and discuss everything from stock picks to managing debt. Adding to the its broad appeal, the Channel offers unique features that allow members to customize their online experience and receive financial information that is specifically important to them (e.g., stock quotes, portfolio updates, breaking news on a particular company, Portfolio Direct, etc.). Launching in March are AOL's Real Estate and Mortgage areas. Through AOL's new partnership with Intuit, these areas will include current mortgage quotes, home financing tips and information, as well as other real estate content and services. AOL Makes Filing Your Taxes Virtually Paperless The Tax Planning area features easy access to Intuit's popular Turbo Tax feature, where members can calculate and file their taxes electronically. The area also offers tax forms; financial calculators; links to the IRS web site; tips on IRA's and planning for retirement; chat and message boards; and tax news -- an area that features important tax updates aggregated from AOL's leading business and information partners. For members who choose not to prepare and file their taxes online, America Online still makes tax preparation "virtually paperless" by providing members with necessary information and documents; reminding them to consider tax-smart investments; proposing tax considerations and repercussions when making contributions and donations; sending alerts on key dates (e.g., mailing due dates and deadlines for avoiding penalties); providing updates on the latest in adjustments to tax laws and forms; and informing them about common filing mistakes and missed opportunities. Every AOL Tax Planning offering is complemented by extensive online discussions between members and financial, business and tax experts. AOL.COM's Personal Finance Web Channel AOL is committed to providing users of both AOL and AOL.COM access to first-rate financial information and products, in an easy-to-use format. As a result of AOL's --more-- Page Four partnership with Intuit, visitors to the Personal Finance Web Channel on AOL's Website, AOL.COM, will soon receive easy access to the same outstanding content, popular financial resources, expert advice and interactive tools found at Intuit's site - one of the most comprehensive financial sites on the Web. Security Whether it be purchasing stocks, flowers or writing checks, AOL is committed to maintaining the highest level of security for transactions conducted via the service. To ensure the safety and security of all brokerage and banking transactions, AOL offers the highest level of encryption technology available, and conducts thorough due diligence of every potential partner's service to ensure that they take the necessary security measures. Said Rob Shenk, "People welcome the convenience of online personal finance, but they insist on the security. AOL delivers both. Our members and partners know and trust that we have stringent security criteria and measures."

Contact Info: