In the hours after last week’s terrorist attack, Americans rushed to fill their cars with gasoline and stock their pantries at convenience stores, electronic records indicate.

On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, volumes surged by as much as 31% on the Concord EFS payment processing network, a spokeswoman said. By Wednesday afternoon, usage was moving back to normal.

The data from Concord provided a glimpse at Americans’ response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The biggest transaction surge on Concord’s network was at point of sale terminals, said Melinda Mercurio, a spokeswoman.

“We actually had a record day in our Atlanta processing center,” and nationwide POS transactions on Tuesday rose up to 31% from normal levels, Ms. Mercurio said.

Concord’s transaction volumes on Tuesday actually sagged by 13% from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. EDT, and 16% the following hour, when television newscasts showed the World Trade Center’s towers burning and ultimately collapsing, she said.

After that, hourly usage climbed, peaking at 8 p.m. at 31% higher than a week earlier and staying high through Wednesday morning, Ms. Mercurio said. The network provides services for grocery stores as well as gas stations, and Concord’s operations staff in Atlanta reported “petroleum was a major driving factor” in the spike.

MasterCard International, also felt the effects of the attack. “Last week, starting on Wednesday, we saw about a 10% decline in authorizations, but our systems are up and running smoothly,” said spokeswoman Sharon Gamsin.

A woman who answered the phone at American Express Co., whose headquarters is in the World Financial Center, said the company’s network was still working.

At First Data Corp., “it’s been business as usual for us in unusual times,” said Antonette DeLauro, vice president of corporate relations.

Cheryl Calo, director of marketing at NYCE, said the ATM network, which is 64% owned by First Data, “was completely unaffected.”

Susan Zawodniak, NYCE’s executive director, said the network, which operates the main electronic funds transfer network switch in New York, is providing stand-in ATM and point of sale transaction-authorization services for two “significant” financial institutions (which she would not name) that have lost communications with the network.

Mary Brown, the senior vice president of marketing at the Pulse EFT Association, a Houston-based regional electronic funds transfer network, said the attack had little effect on the network.

FleetBoston Financial Corp., which has operations throughout Manhattan, said it was unable to communicate with 76 of its 3,800 ATMs because of phone line problems. Eight of the machines are in Massachusetts; the rest are in the Manhattan area.

Fleet had an ATM deployed atop each of the World Trade Center’s towers; three more machines are nearby at 130 Liberty St. The company has 20 branches in Manhattan, and all but two, which are located in the closed off area near the trade center, were expected to be open today.

Bank of New York Co. said Thursday it was temporarily unable to provide access to its ATMs after it suffered damage to its mainframe computer network in New York, the news agency Reuters reported.

Mr. Green is a reporter for ATM & Debit News, a sister publication of

American Banker

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