Transaction processing entrepreneur Joseph E. Wolfson announced the signing of a leading New York State supermarket chain for his Cartel network and of the nation's biggest supermarket company for his advisory board.

Wegman's, a Rochester-based grocery company known for embracing electronic payment innovations, joins two other Cartel members that Mr. Wolfson, chief executive officer of Integrated Delivery Technologies of Buffalo, had previously disclosed: Price Chopper of Schenectady and Tops Friendly Markets in western New York.

"These are three of the biggest and best supermarkets in New York State and three of the most sophisticated in the United States," said Mr. Wolfson.

His company is offering a check cashing card and other payment services that he says will be more in the stores' interests than the programs of bank-owned debit and credit card networks.

Mr. Wolfson, who developed most of his contacts in New York State since launching the Metroteller electronic banking network in the 1970s, has formed an advisory board to spread Cartel's influence nationwide.

He and his chief operating officer, Craig McIntyre, have signed seven companies to the national retail advisory council, led by Kroger Co. of Cincinnati. Though not yet endorsing Cartel as a member or client, the No. 1 supermarket company lends some credibility.

Steve Denny, Kroger's general manager of administrative systems, said he agreed to serve for "informational and investigative purposes."

The council also consists of another top-10 chain that Mr. Wolfson has not gotten permission to announce, as well as the three New York State participants, Hannaford Brothers Co. of Maine, and Twin County Grocers/Foodtown of New Jersey.

"This is just the initial list; we will be expanding," Mr. Wolfson said.

He added that he is just weeks away from entering into a processing and software alliance with a major vendor, which will result in Cartel's official product rollout.

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