SAN DIEGO - Star System Inc., which operates the Explore network, released its second-quarter transaction numbers.

The largest regional electronic banking network switched 73 million automated teller machine transactions in the quarter, a 22% increase over the year-earlier period.

Explore point of sale transactions climbed to 26 million during the same period, a 63% increase over last year.

The number of merchants accepting Explore increased from 11,542 last year to 21,000. There are now more than 60,000 locations throughout the West where Explore is offered to shoppers, a 185% increase from 1994.

ATMs served by Star reached 19,000, up 20%. Cardholders within the network grew to a record 86,261,381, an increase of 7.6%. Member institutions rose 7.5%, to 824.

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