Through First Union Capital Markets, NextCard Inc. launched its third asset-backed commercial paper facility last week, a $220 million conduit that inches the company one step nearer a possible term deal. The groundwork is set.

"We are thinking about perusing the term market in the year 2000," said a spokesman at NextCard. "We will continue to evaluate the competitiveness of it, and base our decision upon cost effectiveness, in comparison with other financing opportunities."

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