A contract awarded to Deluxe Data Corp. and BankAmerica Corp. to provide electronic benefits transfer services in San Bernardino and San Diego counties has been unanimously approved by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

In doing so, the five-member board rejected a protest by losing bidder Transactive Corp. of the county selection committee's recommendation in favor of the award to Deluxe and BankAmerica.

For $11.3 million over five years, Deluxe Data, with the San Francisco- based bank as subcontractor, will provide a system to deliver food stamp benefits electronically to 150,000 recipients through point of sale devices and plastic cards. The rollout is expected to begin by yearend.

Deluxe Data will provide processing, training, and technical support. Bank of America will provide settlement, card embossing, and merchant services.

"This is a watershed event in terms of the whole EBT campaign in California," said Frank Abraham, Bank of America's senior vice president of government services. "Based on the successful implementation of this project and our ongoing dialogue with the state and counties, we see this as the strategic beginning of the rollout to take place in the rest of the state."

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