Barclays Merchant Services, one of the largest merchant- acquiring operations in the United Kingdom, is converting its communications network for electronic point of sale processing to Transaction Network Services (UK).

The subsidiary of Transaction Network Services Inc. of Reston said the Barclays Bank unit made the decision to switch after completing technical and field trials begun in the fourth quarter of 1997. Transaction times on Barclays' PDQ service improved by three to four seconds and the processing was more economical than it was in Barclays' prior system, the companies said.

Transaction Network Services (UK) is also providing value-added services at Barclays Merchant Services' headquarters, including real-time management information on each transaction. This means the bank can monitor the performance of an individual manufacturer's terminals, with potential implications for future hardware buying decisions.

"We have invested heavily in developing our service over the last couple of years, and the decision by one of the most prestigious U.K. banks to sign up to the TNS (UK) network is justification that our proposition of faster, better, and cheaper transactions is true," said Ray Low, managing director of TNS (UK) in Sheffield, England.

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