NextCard Inc., an innovator in marketing credit cards over the Internet, has registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public stock offering.

The San Francisco company seeks to raise $65 million. It said it would use the proceeds to finance growth through on-line solicitations and purchases of credit card receivables, and potentially to capitalize its limited-purpose credit card bank, which is awaiting regulatory approval.

NextCard's system grants credit approvals on-line within seconds, according to the prospectus that was filed March 19. The company said it hopes to carve itself a niche within the $413 billion of U.S. consumer credit card debt owed to Visa and MasterCard banks.

NextCard offers Visa cards with Heritage Bank of Commerce in San Jose, Calif., as the issuer.

An application has been filed with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to open a nationally chartered bank that would operate on-line without accepting demand deposits.

As of Dec. 31, the NextCard program had 39,000 open credit card accounts and $66 million of receivables.

Revenue in 1998 was $1.2 million, up from $93,000 in 1997. Losses widened to $15.5 million, from $1.8 million.

Analyst Gary Craft of BancBoston Robertson Stephens in San Francisco said he was optimistic about the company's prospects but added a cautionary note for Internet stock investors who may be accustomed to positive earnings surprises.

He said NextCard is positioning itself as an Internet company, when in fact it is a "balance sheet wrapped in an Internet distribution environment."

Balance sheets are subject to "wide swings in gross margins," Mr. Craft said.

NextCard officials declined to comment, saying they are in a quiet period related to the offering.

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